Youth Empowerment Solutions for Peaceful Communities: combining theory and practice in a community-level violence prevention curriculum

Marc A Zimmerman, Sarah E Stewart, Susan Morrel-Samuels, Susan Franzen, Thomas M Reischl
Health Promotion Practice 2011, 12 (3): 425-39
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 Intergenerational 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.

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