Response Ability Pathways® (RAP)

The Circle of Courage® has piloted an innovative RAP curriculum which offers “basic training” for all who deal with challenging children and youth. Response Ability Pathways™– or simply RAP – provides essential strength-based strategies for all who deal with young persons in family, school, or community. Children and youth need supportive persons who respond to their needs rather than react to their problems. RAP provides these response abilities which enable one to guide young persons on pathways to responsibility. RAP is an application of the Circle of Courage® philosophy of positive youth development described in the book Reclaiming Youth at Risk. RAP applies Circle of Courage principles to help all young people develop belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity. RAP concepts are grounded in research evidence on resilience, brain science, and positive psychology. This training offers practical methods providing positive behavior support and creating climates of respect in schools and youth programs. RAP provides a powerful alternative to both punitive and permissive approaches. Young persons are enlisted as responsible agents in positive change. RAP deals with problems by focusing on strengths and solutions. Brief “teaching moments” instill positive behaviors and values. Rather than enforcing obedience, RAP sets high expectations for youth to take responsibility and show respect for themselves and others. The RAP curriculum was developed by Larry Brendtro of Reclaiming Youth and Lesley du Toit, of the Child and Youth Care Agency for Development in South Africa. The curriculum was piloted in North America, South Africa, and Australia. RAP taps and develops the innate strength and resilience of young persons. The course focuses on three interventions: Connect, Clarify, and Restore. These are the normal “abilities” of the resilient human brain: we are endowed with the ability to connect to others for support, clarify challenging problems, and restore harmony. RAP content is intuitive, jargon free, and understandable. Strategies are safe, practical, and easily implemented. Goals target universal growth needs of children and youth. Values are universal across diverse cultures and societies. RAP is useful for all who are concerned with youth, whether professionals or lay persons. This course is well-received by educators, counselors, social workers, psychologists, youth workers, and staff in treatment and juvenile justice settings. Training also can include parents, foster parents, mentors, and mature youth who are peer helpers. Training leads to RAP certification, and course credit can be arranged. RAP is highly experiential and provides practical skills for building courageous kids. Basic RAP principles are presented in creative formats, and the course is enlivened by engaging videos and small-group role plays. Participants develop abilities to disengage from adversarial encounters, connect with adult-wary youngsters, restore bonds of respect, and create climates where all young persons can flourish. The RAP training is open to the public and is also available as a private training for your group or organization. To learn more, contact Derek Allen at or call toll-free at 888.647.2532.

Learning Objectives

Attendees will learn how to:

  • Connect with challenging children and youth. A mentor’s first challenge is to create positive social bonds. While “building relationships” with reluctant youth may appear to be a daunting task, many meaningful connections can be made in a short period of time, both with individuals and with groups. Positive connections are built upon small acts of respect and kindness. Once youth connect, they are able to use that person for positive support.
  • Clarify challenges facing a young person. By helping a youth understand “here-and-now” problem situations, mentors support the development of resilient coping strengths. This involves communicating with youth who may be guarded and adult-wary in order to understand the private logic beneath their problem behavior. Youth learn to use strengths and to overcome limitations to meet important life goals. Young persons need to learn to think clearly about their behavior in order to creatively solve problems, master difficult challenges, and meet their needs.
  • Restore inner and interpersonal harmony. This involves respect for self and others. A restorative plan mobilizes inner strengths and external supports to meet growth needs for belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity. Though complicated problems may not be resolved immediately, a young person can take steps on the pathway toward responsibility.

Your gift to Reclaiming Youth International will help build resilience in children, adults, families and communities through our Circle of Courage philosophy. Giving is secure and easy and will bring help and hope to children and their families.

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