This community engaged thesis will articulate some of the identities, patterns, and dominant practices of NGOs related to community development in the hope of uncovering emerging trends. The literature review of this thesis will have a slight focus on NGO’s working in direct conjunction with the HIV/AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, it will manifest the promise of social capital as necessary to an organization’s success. Civic participation remains critical in enabling an NGO to be politically active, to continue building networks, and instilling positive social attitudes. After expounding on these issues, this thesis will then propose a solution- more specifically, a model- that attempts to relate field research findings to current grassroot initiatives that have succeeded in achieving community development through youth empowerment and education in Rhode Island. The strategy of youth empowerment and civic engagement is an effective model for community development and positive social change. By sharing insights and identifying best practices, the NGO sector can enhance coordination and partnerships for effective country-level implementation of youth development initiatives. The author hopes that the findings of this thesis and her field research will be employed and utilized in the development of progressive community-based organizations dedicated to combating the HIV/AIDS virus in Africa.