Michigan YVPC faculty and staff presented several talks and posters at the American Public Health Association’s Annual Meeting in Denver CO. Two YVPC presentations are highlighted below. If you have questions or would like further information, feel free to contact us.
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
Can Community-Engaged Greening Efforts Reduce Crime
Krusky, A., Reischl, T., Morrel-Samuels, S., Franzen, S., Heinze, J., Stoddard, S., Pruett, N., Zimmerman, M.A.
Background/Purpose: Urban blight has been associated with higher levels of crime, fear of crime, perceptions of social disorder, aggression in young males, lower neighborhood satisfaction, and reduced investment in neighborhoods. One strategy to address urban blight is through community-engaged greening of vacant properties. Greening refers to the process of restoring the landscaping and appearance of a blighted property. Yet, evaluations of community-engaged greening efforts and their relationship with crime are lacking.
Methods: We studied the effects of a community-engaged greening program in Flint, Michigan using spatial analyses and hierarchical linear modeling. Using geocoded Flint Police Department crime incident data, we compared the effects of community-engaged greening on violence at the street segment level versus those of vacant properties not included in the program. The analyses controlled for neighborhood-level socioeconomic conditions, residents’ neighborhood perceptions from community survey data, and prior year crime.
Results/Outcomes: We noted fewer incidents of assault and violent crime around vacant parcels maintained by community organizations in the community-engaged greening program compared to the crime trends around similar vacant properties not included in the program. We will discuss the potential of our spatial evaluation model along with model limitations. conclusions: A community-engaged approach to address urban blight through greening programs addresses individual and environmental factors that have the potential to reduce violent crime. Community-engaged greening is both sustainable and replicable, thus understanding which components of such an approach have the greatest effects merits further study.
Conclusions: A community-engaged approach to address urban blight through greening programs addresses individual and environmental factors that have the potential to reduce violent crime. Community-engaged greening is both sustainable and replicable, thus understanding which components of such an approach have the greatest effects merits further study.