Amid the beautiful Oregon landscape, leaders of the CDC’s four STRYVE sites, the CDC Foundation adaptation team, and advisors from the UM School of Public Health Youth Empowerment Solutions (YES) program met to discuss STRYVE’s use of and adaptations to the YES curriculum. This was a time of great optimism among all present as we learned from our fellow artisans of peace.
It was exciting to hear that YES programs are being run with young people from 9 to 24 years of age, and how YES group leaders have tailored certain sessions to meet the developmental needs of participants. It was also great to hear about the engagement of the young people in Portland, Houston, Boston and Salinas. We were treated to lessons in the adaptations that each site has made to ensure that YES is responsive to local culture and history. I’m proud to say that in no instance, were the YES core components compromised.
While there, we also met and shared a meal with the young people involved in YES in Portland. The youth made a wonderful presentation to us, their parents and community leaders. Their enthusiasm inspired a gentleman from the City’s traffic division to get up and report that permissions have been given for one YES team to build a street art installation on an intersection that has been the site of previous youth violence.
It is meetings such as this that reinvigorate me and assure me that youth empowerment and YES are truly keys to youth violence prevention and civic engagement. Thank you STRYVE sites for your dedication to YES and to creating peaceful communities.