Study results show that YES program empowers youth to improve their community and avoid trouble

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The results of our 5-year study evaluating the effects of the YES program are in!

Participation in the YES curriculum improved youth’s psychological empowerment. This, in turn, was associated with increased prosocial outcomes. Prosocial outcomes included: readiness to help others, academic effort, and responsible decision making, and less aggressive and delinquent behavior.

The YES curriculum is designed to help youth boost their confidence, think critically about their community, and work with adults to make positive changes in their community. Our evaluation was conducted after a 4-year implementation period recruiting 367 middle school youth aged 11-16 who attended after-school programs across 13 schools in Flint and Genesee County.

These results are consistent with empowerment theory, which states that empowering processes enhances youth developmental outcomes. Additionally, we found a positive trend when increasing the number of YES components youth were exposed to compared to youth who received fewer intervention components.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

>>Read our full press release.

Citation: 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.