Zimmerman, M. A., Eisman, A. B., Reischl, T. M., Morrel-Samuels, S., Stoddard, S., Miller, A. L., … Rupp, L. (2017). Youth Empowerment Solutions: Evaluation of an After-School Program to Engage Middle School Students in Community Change. Health Education & Behavior. https://doi.org/10.1177/1090198117710491
We report on the 5-year NIH-funded effectiveness evaluation of the Youth Empowerment Solutions (YES) program. We employed a modified randomized control group design to test the hypothesis that the curriculum would enhance youth empowerment, increase positive developmental outcomes, and decrease problem behaviors. Our sample included 367 youth from 13 urban and suburban middle schools. Controlling for demographic characteristics and pre-test outcome measures, we found that youth who received more components of the curriculum reported more psychological empowerment and prosocial outcomes and less antisocial outcomes than youth who received fewer of the intervention components. The results support both empowerment theory and program effectiveness.
This study tests the theoretical model of psychological empowerment and finds support for the three components described in Zimmerman’s conceptual framework: intrapersonal component, interactional component, and behavioral component. Results indicated that each of the factors for the three components demonstrated a good fit with the data, meaning that there was strong support for the model in this population.
Journal Articles and Book Chapters
Franzen, S., Morrel-Samuels, S., Reischl, T., & Zimmerman, M. (2009). Using process evaluation to strengthen intergenerational partnerships in the Youth Empowerment Solutions program. Journal of Intervention and Prevention in the Community, 37(4), 289-301.
- This study illustrates the utility of process evaluation methods for improving a violence prevention program, Youth Empowerment Solutions for Peaceful Communities (YES). The process evaluation methods included questionnaires and focus groups with students, and interviews with neighborhood advocates. Results after the second program year suggested that the program improvements were associated with higher student ratings of program staff and neighborhood advocates. The students and neighborhood advocates reported increased positive experiences after the second program year, but continued to note the challenges of working inter-generationally on community improvement projects.
Freire, K. E., Perkinson, L., Morrel-Samuels, S., & Zimmerman, M. A. (2015). Three Cs of Translating Evidence-Based Programs for Youth and Families to Practice Settings. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 2015(149), 25–39. http://doi.org/10.1002/cad.20111
- Despite the growing number of evidence-based programs (EBPs) for youth and families, few are well-integrated in service systems or widely adopted by communities. One set of challenges to widespread adoption of EBPs relates to the transfer of programs from research and development to practice settings. This is often because program developers have limited guidance on how to prepare their programs for broad dissemination in practice settings. We describe Three Cs of Translation, which are key areas that are essential for developers to translate their EBPs from research to practice settings: (1) Communicate the underlying theory in terms easily understandable to end users, (2) Clarify fidelity and flexibility, and (3) Codify implementation lessons and examples. Program developers are in the best position to describe their interventions, to define intervention core components, to clarify fidelity and flexibility, and to codify implementation lessons from intervention studies. We note several advantages for developers to apply the Three Cs prior to intervention dissemination and provide specific recommendations for translation.
Reischl, T. M., Zimmerman, M. A., Morrel-Samuels, S., Franzen, S. P., Faulk, M., Eisman, A. B., & Roberts, E. (2011). Youth Empowerment Solutions for Violence Prevention. Adolescent Medicine: State of the Art Reviews, 22, 581-600.
This article is not available online. Please contact us for more information.
- In this article, we review published studies of youth violence prevention efforts that engage youth in developing or implementing violence prevention activities. The reviewed studies suggest the promise of youth empowerment strategies and the need for systematic outcome studies of empowerment programs. We also present a case study of the Youth Empowerment Solutions (YES) for Peaceful Communities program. The case study focuses on outcome evaluation results and presents evidence of the YES program effects on community-level outcomes (e.g. property improvements, violent crime incidents) and on individual-level outcomes (e.g. conflict avoidance, victimization). The literature review and the case study suggest the promise of engaging and empowering youth to plan and implement youth violence prevention programs.
Zimmerman, M. A., Stewart, S. E., Morrel-Samuels, S., Franzen, S., & Reischl, T. M. (2011). Youth Empowerment Solutions for Peaceful Communities: Combining theory and practice in a community-level violence prevention curriculum. Health Promotion Practice, 12(3), 425-439.
- This article describes the development and evaluation of an after-school curriculum designed to prepare adolescents to prevent violence through community change. This curriculum, part of the Youth Empowerment Solutions for Peaceful Communities (YES) program, is guided by empowerment and ecological theories within a positive youth development context. YES is designed to enhance the capacity of adolescents and adults to work together to plan and implement community change projects. The youth curriculum is organized around six themed units: (a) Youth as Leaders, (b) Learning about Our Community, (c) Improving Our Community, (d) Building Inter-generational Partnerships, (e) Planning for Change, and (f) Action and Reflection. The curriculum was developed through an iterative process. Initially, program staff members documented their activities with youth. These outlines were formalized as curriculum sessions. Each session was reviewed by the program and research staff and revised based on underlying theory and practical application. The curriculum process evaluation includes staff and youth feedback. This theoretically based, field-tested curriculum is designed to be easily adapted and implemented in a diverse range of communities.
- Researchers at the Virginia Commonwealth University and Catholic University of America recently implemented the YES program and studied its effects on racial tension and stereotyping in middle schools that have student populations that are divided between African American and Latino ethnicities. Fuentes et al. found that participation in the abbreviated YES program improved students’ awareness about African American and Latino cultures and cultural histories, and made them less inclined to stereotype other students based on their race.
Kretman, S. E., Zimmerman, M. A., Morrel-Samuels, S., & Hudson, D. (2009). Adolescent violence: Risk, resilience, and prevention. In R. J. DiClemente, J. S. Santelli & R. A. Crosby (Eds.), Adolescent health: Understanding and preventing risk behaviors. (pp. 213-232). San Francisco, CA US: Jossey-Bass.
- This book chapter is not available online. Please contact us for more information.