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About John Bell

John Bell most recently was Vice President at YouthBuild USA ( for Leadership Development and Graduate Leadership, an international youth development and leadership program. He has over forty years of experience in the youth field as teacher, counselor, community organizer, program developer, leadership trainer, director, and parent. He was a founding staff member of three youth organizations: Youth Action Program (in 1978) in East Harlem, the original YouthBuild; Children of War (in 1984), an international youth leadership organization; and of YouthBuild USA (in 1988). He is a nationally known trainer and consultant in the areas of youth leadership development, peer counseling and healing, and diversity. Mr. Bell has done training and consulting work for the Peace Corps in Africa and South America. He is the author of numerous published articles and handbooks on youth leadership, including YouthBuild's North Star. He is a steadfast advocate for including young people as partners in community development. He is also a trained peer-counseling teacher and an ordained Buddhist Dharma Teacher in the tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. In all his work, he tries to integrate social justice, emotional healing, and spiritual practice. Mr. Bell holds a BA and MA from Stanford University.
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