HomeGrown StL

Youth Development

Our research focuses on building capacity in St. Louis City and County to better serve and foster the positive development of young black males ages 12-29.

This project is in partnership with community service providers centered on the understanding that solutions to the problems facing young black boys and men today in the St. Louis region must come from the region itself with good use of data and strategic action.

The death of Michael Brown in 2014 highlighted immense regional concerns regarding black boys and young men, namely long-standing disparities in health, academic attainment, employment, developmental opportunity and overall healthy transition into adulthood.

A glaring gap exists in the baseline data needed to guide strategic planning and evaluation of the region’s capacity to improve outcomes for this population. The mission of HomeGrown StL is twofold: to close the information gap, and to combine knowledge with resources in order to eliminate the disparities facing black boys and young men in our region.

This university-community partnership is uniquely positioned to leverage both academic knowledge and community expertise for supporting the positive development of black boys and young men. We bring researchers together with regional leaders of local programs that largely serve this demographic.

HomeGrown StL brings together key St. Louis partners to provide focused attention and infrastructure for facilitating, planning and evaluating strategic investment in data to inform services and policy to improve the outcomes for black men and boys. These strategic partners are on the front lines and hold a wealth of knowledge that should inform and guide regional planning.

HomeGrown StL is a community-engaged research project of the Race and Opportunity Lab, within the Center for Social Development. Visit the HomeGrown StL website.

Principal Investigator

Sean  Joe

Sean Joe

CSD Faculty Director; Washington University in St. Louis
Youth Development: Effective Transitions to Adulthood


Lissa Johnson

Lissa Johnson

CSD Associate Director; Director of Administration and Research;
Co-Director Financial Capability and Asset Building