YES is a program that includes empowering processes for youth. It helps youth develop the skills they need to assess their community, and it gives them decision-making power in developing and implementing community change projects. Participating in empowering activities can help youth avoid risky behaviors and develop into productive healthy adults.
Empowerment Theory provides a unique conceptual framework for developing programs to enhance positive youth development because it incorporates the notion that health promotion requires not only that youth develop specific skills and positive assets, but also that they become motivated to actively apply these skills and knowledge to become agents of positive change for themselves and in their communities . Thus, programs based on Empowerment Theory focus on building positive assets, connecting youth with local resources and adult role models, and engaging youth in community service activities.
Ecological Theory complements Empowerment Theory because it focuses attention on the social contexts in which youth develop, the interactions between these contexts, and the roles youth can play within these contexts (e.g., schools, communities). An intervention approach informed by these two theories enhances positive youth development by engaging youth in relevant ecological settings where they can learn skills, practice those skills, establish the social resources to effectively navigate the social contexts in which they find themselves, and develop into healthy adults.