Young people need abilities to see things from others’ perspectives, to suspend judgment, actively listen, and recognize how different values, life opportunities, and obstacles have shaped others.

Empathy development involves learning to relate to others with acceptance, understanding, and sensitivity to their diverse perspectives and experiences. Learning empathy goes hand-in-hand with learning about the self, and out-of-school programs can be powerful contexts for young people to develop greater understanding of both self and others.

As youth become more conscious of their own emotions and how life experiences have shaped who they are, they become better able to understand others’ perspectives and feelings. A central component of empathy development is learning how limits in one’s own experiences can create stereotypes that distort how one perceives people from different backgrounds.

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