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Youth empowerment programs

Health Factors: Family & Social Support
Decision Makers: Community Members Educators Nonprofit Leaders
Evidence Rating: Some Evidence
Population Reach: 10-19% of WI's population
Impact on Disparities: Likely to decrease disparities

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Description

Youth empowerment programs help prepare children and youth to be active members of their communities and society as a whole. Programs teach children to work well with peers and can include job skill development and placement; mentoring; intensive case management; writing and communication skills services. 

Expected Beneficial Outcomes

Improved social skills
Improved youth behavior
Increased academic achievement
Increased self-esteem
Increased self-efficacy

Evidence of Effectiveness

There is some evidence that youth empowerment programs improve social skills, reduce problem behaviors (e.g., alcohol and drug use, truancy, and high-risk sexual behaviors), and increase academic performance (Catalano 2004, Morton 2013, Ghahremani 2013, SAMHSA-NREPP). There is less evidence supporting the effects of youth empowerment programs on self-esteem and self-efficacy (Morton 2013). Additional evidence is needed to confirm effects.

Youth empowerment programs can operate in a variety of settings including communities, schools, and households. The majority of programs operate in more than one setting, which may be a key factor in their success (Catalano 2004). Successful programs also often have a structured curriculum, relatively long duration, and a high level of fidelity to the studied program design (Catalano 2004).

Implementation

United States

Youth empowerment programs are commonly implemented through youth councils, teen centers, community-based participatory research programs, and social action and advocacy groups (Morton 2013). Examples include: Project ACHIEVE, Youth Empowerment Program (YEP), Youth Empowerment Services (YES), Youth Empowered Solutions (YES!), and the MGR Foundation's Youth Empowerment program (MGR-Youth empowerment).

Implementation Resources

Equal Voice Youth Empowerment Toolkit - Active Voice. Equal voice youth empowerment toolkit. Seattle: Marguerite Casey Foundation; 2012. Accessed on December 30, 2015
YES!-Toolkits - Youth Empowered Solutions (YES!). Toolkits and resources. Accessed on March 4, 2016

Citations - Evidence

Catalano 2004* - Catalano RF, Berglund ML, Ryan JAM, Lonczak HS, Hawkins JD. Positive youth development in the United States: Research findings on evaluations of positive youth development programs. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. 2004;591(1):98-124. Accessed on December 1, 2015
Ghahremani 2013 - Ghahremani DG, Oh EY, Dean AC, et al. Effects of the youth empowerment seminar on impulsive behavior in adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2013;53(1):139-41. Accessed on February 5, 2016
Morton 2013* - Morton MH, Montgomery P. Youth empowerment programs for improving adolescents' self-efficacy and self-esteem: A systematic review. Research on Social Work Practice. 2013;23(1):22-33. Accessed on March 1, 2016
SAMHSA-NREPP - SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP). Accessed on February 9, 2017

Citations - Implementation

MGR-Youth empowerment - Marilyn G. Rabb Foundation. MGR youth empowerment: Empowering youth, changing communities. Accessed on February 15, 2016
Morton 2013* - Morton MH, Montgomery P. Youth empowerment programs for improving adolescents' self-efficacy and self-esteem: A systematic review. Research on Social Work Practice. 2013;23(1):22-33. Accessed on March 1, 2016
Project ACHIEVE - Project ACHIEVE. School improvement, turn-around, and success. Accessed on December 16, 2015
YEP - Youth Empowerment Project (YEP). Accessed on November 23, 2015
YES - Youth Empowerment Services (YES). My future, my choice. Accessed on November 23, 2015
YES! - Youth Empowered Solutions (YES!). Accessed on November 18, 2015

Page Last Updated

July 31, 2015

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