The Genesee County Afterschool Study (GCAS) is an NIH-funded study of the Youth Empowerment Solutions for Positive Youth Development (YES) curriculum, developed out of the YES for Peaceful Communities pilot program. The study is a randomized controlled trial that compares youth in standard after school programs offering activity choice (e.g. sports, academic enrichment, arts) to youth assigned to the YES program, an after school program that includes training in community development, formation of inter-generational partnerships and experience conducting community improvement projects.
GCAS is a partnership between the University of Michigan School of Public Health, the Flint Community Schools and the Genesee County Intermediate School District. The study includes participants from eight high-need middle schools with 21st Century after school programs.
The study aims are to:
- Implement and evaluate an empirically-developed intervention for empowering youth (YES) using a randomized controlled trial design in a high-risk urban and suburban sample.
- Test a conceptual model that posits a causal relationship between youth empowerment processes and positive developmental outcomes.
- Follow youth over time to assess sustainability of gains in healthy development. (Developmental outcomes are assessed at baseline, at curriculum completion, and at three and nine months post-intervention.)
As part of the curriculum (unit 2), the Bentley YES team took pictures of assets and liabilities around their school for their Photovoice projects. The group then put their favorite pictures into a PowerPoint presentation to be shared with their principal and superintendent. What they learned through Photovoice will also be used to help them plan their project to improve their community.