YES staff and faculty traveled to Denver, Colorado to present findings from the Genesee County After School Study, an NIH-funded randomized control trial of YES. The YES program was implemented in Genesee County from 2010-2015. Researchers explored multiple factors related to program implementation and how it related to program outcomes. The abstract from the session is presented below. Please contact us for more information about our findings or if you have questions about the presentation.
Measuring the Implementation of the Youth Empowerment Solutions Program
Morrel-Samuels, S., Eisman, A., Franzen, S., Hutchison, P., Reischl, T., Zimmerman, M.A.
Background/Purpose: Youth Empowerment Solutions (YES) is a theory-based after school program for middle school students designed to prevent violence, promote positive development and engage youth in community change activities. The curriculum is based on empowerment theory. It includes six units: 1) Youth as Leaders, 2) Learning about Our Community, 3) Improving Our Community, 4) Building Intergenerational Partnerships, 5) Planning for Change, and 6) Action and Reflection. The curriculum culminates in youth defining and implementing a community change project. The program has been conducted in numerous after school settings.
Methods: We assessed 29 unique implementations of the YES program using multiple measures: number of sessions offered; youth attendance; group leader participation in training; fidelity checklists; youth satisfaction measures; and global quality ratings based on staff observations of adherence to core content, implementer and delivery components of the intervention. We examined the relationships of these measures to program outcomes.
Results/Outcomes: Implementations of the curriculum varied widely in terms of dose, fidelity, and group leader skills. Analyses suggest that higher exposure to the program is associated with greater community engagement and self-esteem and less violence justification and rule-breaking. We describe the strengths and limitations of multiple indicators of program quality, and how they may relate to program outcomes.
Conclusions: Implementation quality is critical to achieving desired program outcomes. We will discuss lessons learned in collecting and analyzing implementation data and provide recommendations for evaluators seeking to understand the effects of implementation and for practitioners interested in