Excerpt: Teenagers have tremendous capacity for spiritual growth and thriving when they are embedded in a context telling them they have a purpose in life and that they are valuable and capable members of society. Many minority youth growing up in socioeconomic disadvantage, however, are at much higher risk for outcomes such as incarceration and emotional disruption. Consider for a moment the hypothetical lives of two teenagers: Trevor and Evan.1 Both young men attend a high school on the south side of Chicago and live in a neighborhood replete with challenges that can hinder positive development. Many people would consider their odds of becoming flourishing adults quite low; however, their experiences as adolescents have the power to shape and even transform their life paths.
About a year ago, the trajectories of these fictitious boys’ lives began to diverge. . . .