SEL Challenge

The Social and Emotional Learning Challenge is a collaboration between SCE, exemplary youth workers selected through an open national competition, and a team of expert researchers setting out to explore how youth are best supported in cultivating teamwork, resilience, agency and empathy skills in informal learning environments. is the product of this 18 month exploration into how youth programs can support teens in developing the skills they need to thrive. The site is full of free resources and tools for staff and program managers to embed SEL into any program.

The full guide, Preparing Youth to Thrive: Promising Practices for Social and Emotional Learning, is available for download at

Through a learning community model, this exploration centers the wisdoms of youth workers and program leaders in order to bring critical, yet underutilized elements of effective practice into a collective knowledge base. Researchers from the Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality are joined by expert consultant Reed Larson to examine social and emotional learning practices at the selected programs through three guiding questions:

  1. What are the best practices for SEL for teens?
  2. What are the patterns of growth in social and emotional skills for participating youth?
  3. How are the programs structured to produce high-quality SEL?
  • A flipped model of researcher + practitioner collaboration
  • A platform for elevating the expertise of high-impact youth workers and program leaders
  • A runway for the launch of the SEL Field Guide
  • An experiment in surfacing and scaling innovations from the ground up

Watch the SEL Challenge video here.

Read more about the organizations we funded through the SEL Challenge: