Search Cornell

Goats, origami, virtual reality and more at the State Fair!

Tags: 4-H,   CCE,   NY State,   NY State Fair,   Rachel Dunifon,   youth,   youth development,  

composite image of girl holding goat, girl making origami, girl wearing award ribbons holding chicken, woman wearing virtual reality headset

The goat exhibition, origami activity, chicken competition, and Rachel Dunifon wearing a virtual reality headset

By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

Hundreds of 4-H youth from across New York State showed off their skills and accomplishments at the State Fair this year in everything from a fashion review to cooking competitions, a robotics challenge and the traditional animal exhibitions.

Human Ecology Interim Dean Rachel Dunifon toured the 4-H Youth Building, enjoying the embryology exhibit and testing out virtual reality glasses. She was joined by College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Ronald P. Lynch Dean Kathryn Boor and Cornell Cooperative Extension Director Chris Watkins.

two young women speaking to a man and woman in a 4-H booth

Chris Watkins and Rachel Dunifon touring 4-H booths at the State Fair

“I loved the chance to tour the 4-H building, talking with my incredibly impressive tour guide, holding baby chicks, and getting a sense of the breadth and impact of the 4-H program across the state,” Dunifon said.

Also notable this year, New York State 4-H and Future Farmers of America, or FFA, hosted a special day to highlight their organizations. The day included presentations by youth focused on Science Technology Engineering and Math, or STEM, animal science and healthy living and an ice cream social.

This year, New York State 4-H added an “Activity Zone” to the youth building, which provided fairgoers a chance to participate in activities related to 4-H values, including robotics demonstrations, a reading nook and a project to make quilts for children who are seriously ill or experience trauma.

4-H Youth participated in every division of animal science exhibition including horses, dairy and beef cattle, goats, sheep, pigs, rabbits, guinea pigs, dogs and poultry.

4-H partners from the Cornell campus participated by providing demonstrations including Planetary Imaging, the Paleontological Research Institute and Cornell iGem, a team of undergraduates that use find biological solutions to important problems.

“We are working closely with our local Cornell Cooperative Extension offices to ensure that he State Fair is a showcase for the diversity of New York’s 4-H program, puts young people out in front and provides them with a valuable learning experience,” said Andy Turner, director of 4-H in New York State. “Our Cornell partners have been right behind us in this effort, helping create pathways for youth to explore, experiment and step onto STEM pathways that can lead to college and career opportunities down the road.”

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: 4-H    CCE    NY State    NY State Fair    Rachel Dunifon    youth    youth development   

National 4-H adopts BCTR program connecting youth with elders


three teenaged girls talking to an older woman

4-H'ers conducting an interview during 4-H Career Explorations

By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

A Bronfenbrenner Center program that connects youth and older adults through advice-sharing has achieved a significant national distinction: approval as a national 4-H curriculum. The designation means that 4-H programs across the country can adopt the program.

Building a Community Legacy Together, or BCLT, is part of the Cornell Institute for Translational Research on Aging. The idea began when gerontologist Karl Pillemer began working on a book to capture the wisdom and advice for living on a variety of topics from older adults. Interviewers on the project, some of whom were students, were deeply influenced by their interviews with older adults. Pillemer wondered if this kind of wisdom-sharing interview could provide the same experience to youth participating in 4-H.

Pillemer and his colleague Leslie Schultz worked with 4-H leaders to develop a program that trains youth how to conduct life-lesson interviews with older adults from their community. Young people receive training about elder wisdom and in interviewing skills. They then conduct an interview with an older person, asking him or her to describe the major lessons learned of a long life. After youth interview the elders, they organize the lessons and create a public presentation to share with their community. To date, 150 youth in New York State have participated in the program.

“Older adults are an underutilized resource in communities who have a wealth of knowledge to share, and youth, in particular, can benefit from their life lessons,” said Leslie Schulz, BCLT project coordinator.  “Participating youth have consistently expressed a new-found respect for elders and appreciation for the actual advice elders offered during the interviews.”

Early research results have supported this feedback from youth. The evaluation of the program shows that it improves attitudes toward older people and combats the problem of ageism as the youth make meaningful connections with older members of their communities.  Youth also learn valuable research and life skills, such as interviewing and data collection techniques, report writing and public speaking.

The BCLT model is based on decades of experience developing intergenerational programs at the Bronfenbrenner Center. “We live in a society that is increasingly segregated by age, in which young people have little contact with elders outside of intermittent interactions in their own families,” Pillemer said. “This program takes basic research on the causes of ageism and the importance of intergenerational engagement, and turns it into a program that can be implemented across the country.”

The BCLT curriculum is offered online to implementers with a full curriculum, tools, instructions, handouts and other materials . Pillemer and Schultz are planning national dissemination activities to encourage both youth and elder service organizations to adopt the program. You can learn more and request the training manual on the BCLT website.

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: BCLT    gerontology    Karl Pillemer    Leslie Schultz    youth development   

Career Explorations puts future in 4-H’ers hands

Tags: 4-H,   media mention,   STEM,   youth,   youth development,  

teenaged boy shakes hands with a robot

A participant at the 2018 4-H Career Explorations learns to program Baxter, a robot in Cornell’s Department of Computer Science.
photo: R.J. Anderson/Cornell Cooperative Extension

By Stephen D'Angelo for the Cornell Chronicle

More than 500 middle and high school students from across New York gathered at Cornell’s Ithaca campus June 26-28 to participate in life-changing workshops taught by Cornell faculty, staff and graduate students during the annual 4-H Career Explorations conference.

“The goals of 4-H Career Explorations are for young people across New York state to have the opportunity to come to Cornell and learn about themselves, their peers, campus life and careers,” said Alexa Maille, extension associate with Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research. “We hope they have the opportunity to try out new identities and possibilities for their futures and discover pathways and people who can help them pursue their individual future goals.”

Dozens of scholarships were made available through the New York State 4-H Foundation and Cornell University.

The conference’s 27 programs connected youth to academic fields including engineering, animal science, astronomy, environmental science, food science, nanotechnology and human development, facilitated by the Colleges of Human Ecology, Agriculture and Life Sciences, Arts and Sciences, and Engineering, the Faculty of Computing and Information Science, and the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art.

youth standing with mannequins wearing dresses

4-H'ers in the Department of Fiber Science and Apparel Design photo: R.J. Anderson/Cornell Cooperative Extension

New this year was “Dress Code,” a program that allowed participants to explore the integration of fashion and computer science.

“From the jacquard loom, known as the first computer, to the current use of algorithm-driven design and fashion management practices, technology and fashion go hand in hand,” said program leader Katherine Greder, a doctoral student in the field of fiber science and apparel design.

Students made pocket looms that they used to weave binary code into small samplers, visited the Cornell Costume and Textile Collection to see examples of old punch cards and intricate jacquard woven fabric, and learned about the connection between 3D body scanning and coding.

“The reason we wanted to present this more tech-focused approach to fashion is because the industry is rapidly changing,” Greder said. “Many of the future jobs in the fashion industry will require a proficient command of computer-aided design and an understanding of coding.”

The Women in Science program, part of Career Explorations for 17 years, explored how social science can be used to investigate the question of why fewer women than men are found in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers, and exposed students to social science fields such as human development and psychology.

“One of the focuses of the program is how diverse science is; it’s not just chemistry or engineering,” said Caisa Royer, the Women in Science program leader and a graduate student in the dual J.D./Ph.D. program in developmental psychology and law. “For me, the primary goal is for students to start thinking differently about both science and their opportunity to become scientists, but also to help students get excited about college and the types of opportunities they will have in the future.”

Graduate students discussed their research, experiences in the academic world and love of their specific scientific studies, as well as potential careers in science disciplines and what types of credentials are necessary to pursue these careers.

Wendy Williams, professor of human development and academic lead of the Women in Science program, said: “By focusing on social science questions and methods, my program shows students that not all scientists work in wet labs. Some scientists study human behavior, motivation, goals and attitudes, and answer questions about how human behavior can be understood and modified.

“By attending Career Explorations and spending time on the Cornell campus, these students get a feel for college life, and it is demystified for them,” Williams said. “If my program reaches young women and men and encourages them to apply to college, it will have done its job.”

The hands-on experiences at Career Explorations have been influential for many students.

Livingston County 4-H’er Serena Blackburn said she “had a really interesting experience” at Cornell’s Wilder Brain Collection: “I was able to hold a human brain, and being able to hold what was someone’s entire consciousness in my hands was a really eye-opening experience.”

Blackburn, who graduated from high school last month, said her participation at the Career Explorations conference the past two years helped her decide to study sociology at the State University of New York College at Brockport this fall.

“I was looking at psychology and learned about sociology there – what it entailed, how it compared to psychology, the research areas, etcetera – and it influenced my decision to go into sociology.”

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: 4-H    media mention    STEM    youth    youth development   

PRYDE Scholars garner multiple awards


From left, Town of Dryden Supervisor Jason Leifer, Greta Sloan '18, Cornell Vice President for University Relations Joel Malina and Town of Dryden Deputy Supervisor Dan Lamb.

The first cohort of PRYDE Scholars graduate this year. Two seniors who served as PRYDE Scholars for the past two years have received prestigious awards for their leadership, innovation, and commitment to improving the world.

Julia Lesnick HD ’18 was awarded the 2018 Human Ecology Alumni Association’s Outstanding Senior Award, which recognizes a graduating senior who consistently exemplified the mission of the College of Human Ecology during their years at Cornell. And Greta Sloan HD ’18 has been named the 2018 winner of the Cornell University Relations’ Campus-Community Leadership Award, which honors a graduating senior who has shown exceptional town-gown leadership and innovation.

PRYDE, or the Program for Research on Youth Development and Engagement, aims to develop social and behavioral interventions that will benefit youth in 4-H and, ultimately, their communities. The PRYDE Scholars program chooses rising juniors who spend two years learning how to apply findings from basic research to 4-H programming in New York.

As a PRYDE Scholar, Julia works under the guidance of associate professor Jane Mendle in the Adolescent Transitions Laboratory. Her research has focused on rejection sensitivity and relationship outcomes in adolescent girls. Her poster for this work was accepted for presentation at the Society for Research on Adolescence conference for this year in April.

Julia Lesnick presenting her research poster

Julia Lesnick presenting her research

“I'm so honored and excited to receive this reward and represent the College,” Lesnick said. “The learning, research, and service opportunities I have been able to pursue through Human Ecology are incredible, and I'm so grateful to be a part of this community. I hope that I can continue to contribute to CHE [College of Human Ecology] and represent its mission and values in my future endeavors.”

Lesnick also won the Biddy Martin Undergraduate Prize for Writing in LGBTQ Studies and the Florence Halpern Award for Leadership in Community Service.

Sloan focused her research on cumulative risk in childhood ecological systems and severity of hyperactivity and impulsivity.

“I found that the accumulation of stress on a caregiver, family conflict and factors associated with poverty were linked to hyperactivity and impulsivity in a sample of youth at an East Coast behavioral health agency I interned at last summer,” Sloan said. “I was grateful for this opportunity, and care about these families.”

In addition to her work as a PRYDE scholar, she volunteered for four years and this year served as co-president of Cornell’s Youth Outreach Undergraduates Reshaping Success program, which mentors youth in mobile home parks in the town of Dryden, New York. This fall, she will serve as a Teach for America corps member, teaching in an elementary school.


Youth advocate Greta Sloan ’18 wins campus-community leadership award – Cornell Chronicle

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: award    Jane Mendle    media mention    PRYDE    students    youth development   

Using comics to convey research


By Lori Sonken for the Cornell Chronicle

A 3-panel comic showing - panel one: text, "join the NFLC - Spring 2079!" above a group image of student; panel 2: header text "what the hell is the NFLC?" above image of a student with a speech bubble saying, "It's the Nilgiris Field Learning Center in Kotagiri, India!"; panel 3: two students are talking one says, "We study sustainable development and do research in communities with our partners." the other says, "Yep, there are equal numbers of Cornell students and young people from tribal communities in the Nilgiris, like me!"

The first page of a comic Neema Kudva, associate professor in city and regional planning, is using in recruitment efforts for the Nilgiris Field Learning Center in India.

Cornell faculty members and academic staff participating in the Knowledge Matters Fellowship presented their projects, including comics, videos and websites, at a showcase wrapping up the yearlong transmedia training program May 10 at A.D. White House.

“My students said they better understood the papers they read” after creating a comic strip illustrating research and findings from a peer-reviewed journal article, said Jennifer Agans, assistant director of the Program for Research on Youth Development and Engagement at the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research.

Agans asked undergraduates enrolled in Human Development 4850 to make a 12-frame, persuasive comic making the research relevant for nonacademic audiences. Before tackling the assignment, students received instruction in developing comics from Jon McKenzie, the Arts and Sciences Dean’s Fellow for Media and Design and visiting professor of English, who runs the Knowledge Matters Fellowship.

Another Knowledge Matters fellow, C.-Y. Cynthia Lin Lawell, associate professor and the Robert Dyson Sesquicentennial Chair of Resource Economics in the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, produced a four-minute video that highlights research in a paper she wrote with a former Ph.D. student in the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management about the effects of driving restrictions on air quality.

Making the video “made me think about how to make the research my students and I are doing interesting and accessible to a general audience,” she said.

To solicit support for a clemency case, Sandra Babcock, faculty director of the Cornell Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide, is developing a PechaKucha – a presentation format that uses narration and 20 slides displaying for 20 seconds each to convey information concisely.

Maureen Hanson, the Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, worked with a volunteer WordPress expert to build a website for the Center for Enervating Neuroimmune Disease, which conducts research on myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome, supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

The Knowledge Matters Fellowship, sponsored by the Office of Faculty Development and Diversity (OFDD), Cornell University Library, Office of Engagement Initiatives and the Center for Teaching Innovation,will be offered in 2018-19, said Yael Levitte, associate vice provost for faculty development and diversity. Email OFDD more information.

Faculty uses new formats – including comics – to convey research - Cornell Chronicle

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: Jennifer Agans    media mention    PRYDE    youth development   

ACT for Youth awarded new contract with NY State


By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

ACT for youth logoA BCTR project that helps New York youth lead more positive, healthy lives will expand its work with the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH).

The state awarded a new contract to the Assets Coming Together for Youth Center for Community Action (ACT for Youth), a BCTR project focused on positive youth development and adolescent health. The project will receive $1.1 million in each of the next five years to develop training and resources, provide technical assistance, and evaluate youth intervention programs.

ACT for Youth has partnered with the NYSDOH since 2000. This is the project’s fourth contract with the state.

Headshot of Jane Powers

Jane Powers

“We’re thrilled to continue working with the New York State Department of Health, supporting their efforts to improve the health and well-being of adolescents in our state,” said Jane Powers, the project director.

ACT for Youth is currently working on several community-based initiatives that focus on adolescent sexual health promotion and youth development: Comprehensive Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention, Personal Responsibility Education Program, Successfully Transitioning Youth to Adolescence, and Pathways to Success. As part of the new contract, ACT for Youth will now also support prevention programs for sexually-transmitted diseases for youth. The organizations that house these programs are diverse, ranging from large, urban hospitals to small community agencies. Each program incorporates positive youth development strategies into their work with young people.

ACT for Youth is a partnership among the BCTR, Cornell University Cooperative Extension of New York City, and the Adolescent Medicine Division at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Related:

ACT for Youth: Measuring positive youth development

ACT for Youth supports sex education and positive youth development at Provider Day

Teen Outreach Program helps prevent teen pregnancy

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: ACT for Youth    health    Jane Powers    sexual health    youth    youth development   

PRYDE conference on social media literacy in youth


news-2017-prydeconf-inpost

front (l to r): David Dunning, Elaine Wethington, Kristen Elmore, Jutta Dotterweich, Jamila Simon, Esther Kim, Rachel Sumner. back: Chinwe Effiong, Paul Mihailidis, Kayla Burd, Josh Pasek, Jonathon Schuldt, Monica Bulger, Neil Lewis, Norbert Schwarz.

By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

What does the research tell us about how young people use social media? And what can educators do to teach youth how to use social media in productive, positive ways?

These were the questions researchers addressed at the second annual conference hosted by the Program for Research on Youth Development and Engagement (PRYDE). The conference, titled “Media Literacy and Citizenship Development in Youth and Emerging Young Adults,” was held from November 9 to 11 at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. It included multidisciplinary researchers and media developers from across the nation focused on youth, communications, misinformation, and media use.

Elaine Wethington, professor of human development and sociology and an associate director of the BCTR, organized the conference. She is a medical sociologist whose research focuses on stress, protective mechanisms of social support, aging, and translational research methods.

Sam Taylor presenting

Sam Taylor presenting

“There are few topics more urgent to address than the relationship of increased reliance on social media as a means of communication and the impact of the new media on social and political institutions,” Wethington said.  “Our long-term goal is to develop new ideas about how to translate research on promoting productive social media use among youth into effective programs that engage youth and emerging adults and their development as informed citizens.”

In addition to invited talks from leading media, communication, and social and developmental psychological researchers, the conference included discussions and group activities about how to teach youth to become positive stewards of social media and the information exchanged on the web. Moving forward, those ideas will help to inform projects in the Cornell Social Media Lab, a PRYDE collaborator.

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: conference    Elaine Wethington    PRYDE    social media    youth    youth development   

Creativity at 4-H National Science Day event

Tags: 4-H,   children,   media mention,   NYC,   STEM,   youth development,  

Preparing an arm band monitor

Preparing an arm band monitor

By Jon Craig for the Cornell Chronicle

A Brooklyn elementary school was transformed into a high-tech laboratory during a Cornell-led science discovery day Oct. 4.

About 300 schoolchildren jammed all corners of Public School 21 as part of the 10th annual 4-H National Youth Science Day that reached an estimated 100,000 schoolchildren in 50 states. Last fall, Cornell led the national “drone discovery” theme.

This year’s interactive learning challenge, “Incredible Wearables,” was developed by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Youths engineered and built electronic armbands that measured their fitness while exercising. The PS 21 gymnasium was filled with “wired-up” students jumping rope, spinning hula hoops or running in place. Fellow youth scientists then monitored and measured heartbeats and number of steps or jumps taken.

In another room sponsored by faculty, staff and volunteers from Cornell University Cooperative Extension-New York City (CUCE-NYC) and National 4-H Council, the schoolchildren:

  • explored New York state’s parks using a giant geological map, led by Susan Hoskins, senior extension associate at Cornell’s Institute for Resource Information Sciences;
  • learned about hydroponics, or growing plants without soil, which wowed most youngsters, led by Philson A.A. Warner, extension associate and founding director of the CUCE-NYC Hydroponics, Aquaculture, Aquaponics Learning Lab;
  • learned about energy by pedaling a bicycle that produced electricity to power light bulbs and a fan;
  • created bird feeders from pine cones and planted fall bulbs to help pollinators; and
  • learned about sugar levels in juices, beverages and fatty foods.

The goal was to inspire youths to gain interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and pursue college and careers in those fields.

Trying out the Google virtual reality viewers

Trying out the Google virtual reality viewers

Another interactive exhibit, sponsored by Google, allowed students to wear virtual reality goggles that exposed them to moving undersea images, a dairy farm in Minnesota and other science-based scenes.

Lucinda Randolph-Benjamin, CUCE-NYC extension associate for family and 4-H youth development, said this year’s combination of high-tech fitness tests in one part of PS 21 as well as interactive exhibits in another part transformed the flagship Brooklyn school into a “crazy but incredible learning environment.”

“There’s a lot more to keep track of this year,” Randolph-Benjamin exclaimed as she herded gaggles of elementary pupils.

Last fall, “drone discovery” and the accompanying engineering design challenges were developed by staff and faculty members in Cornell Cooperative Extension and the College of Human Ecology. In addition to solving real-world problems, students were taught about safety and regulations, remote sensing and flight control – a project that continues to gain national traction.

Organized chaos spells creativity at Brooklyn school science event - Cornell Chronicle

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: 4-H    children    media mention    NYC    STEM    youth development   

4-H event boosts youth confidence in future studies

Tags: 4-H,   media mention,   youth,   youth development,  

By Stephen D’Angelo for the Cornell Chronicle

news-2017careerex-inpost

Career Explorations participants synthesizing gold nanoparticles by using gold chloride and citric acid in hot water

More than 400 middle and high school students from 45 New York state counties and extension programs made their way to Cornell’s Ithaca campus June 27-29 to investigate the mysteries of the cosmos, perform physical exams on small and large animals, understand the intricacies of food science and learn to program robots.

These activities were only a few of the many workshops taught by Cornell faculty, staff and graduate students during the 4-H Career Explorations conference, an annual event that exposes youth to academic fields and career exploration by delivering a hands-on experience in a college setting.

“Our main purpose of career explorations is to give young people a chance to get a feel for careers that they’ve never even heard of, or maybe never even considered for themselves,” said Alexa Maille, conference coordinator and New York State 4-H science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension at the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, a research and outreach branch of the College of Human Ecology.

“This is the first college experience for a lot our participants and we receive a good amount of feedback from these youth, both during the conference and after, saying that they are now interested in pursuing future studies or a career in one of the subject areas that they were exposed to here first,” Maille added.

Dozens of scholarships were made available through the New York State 4-H Foundation and Cornell University.

The conference’s 30 programs focused on healthy living, STEM, civic engagement and leadership and were facilitated by the Colleges of Human Ecology, Agriculture and Life Sciences, Arts and Sciences, and Engineering and Information Science, as well as the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art and the Museum of the Earth. The event connected youth to academic fields including engineering, animal science, astronomy, environmental science, food science, nanotechnology and human development.

A program titled “A Tour of Human Development across the Lifespan,” organized by the Bronfenbrenner Center’s Program for Research on Youth Development and Engagement (PRYDE), introduced human development to students with interests in sociology, psychology, neuroscience, medicine, education, public health or social work.

“We really wanted to expose the youth to both the idea of lifespan human development, showing them that development continues at all ages, and to different research methods,” said Jennifer Agans, PRYDE assistant director for research on youth development and engagement. “For us, this was really an amazing opportunity to work directly with youth and teach them about social science, as well as to align to our mission in connecting 4-H programs with campus research.”

Students heard from professors about their research, visited the fMRI lab and saw how brain scans can provide insights into human behavior. They also participated in career-related activities including interviews and focus group to better understand research methods.

And students discussed academic directions and personal career pathways with graduate students, lab managers, program assistants and postdoctoral fellows, who shed light on the transition from high school to college to career.

Skyler Masse, 16, from Niagara County, participated in the human development program and is interested in a career in medicine and health.

“Working hand-in-hand with the professors and students allowed me to be able to see that it’s okay not to have a direct route to college; there are many options, and a lot more options, than you may think there are,” she said. “Interviewing graduate students and postdocs, and hearing directly from them, helped me realize that it’s okay to change what you’re doing, even in college. You don’t have to have a set major, and that they went through the same thing.”

Meghan Stang, 17, from Cattaraugas County, is considering physical therapy as a career. She said the experience has given her more confidence in her future academic and professional life.

“Just listening to all of the graduate students and undergraduate students who came and spoke to us, they were in a similar situation when they were my age, and now they are succeeding in life,” she said. “It makes me think that even though I don’t know exactly where I want to go or what I want to do around physical therapy, I’ll be okay. I will succeed.”

4-H event boosts youth confidence in future studies - Cornell Chronicle

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: 4-H    media mention    youth    youth development   

Teen Outreach Program helps prevent teen pregnancy


By Sheri Hall for the BCTR

The ACT (Assets Coming Together) for Youth Center of Excellence at the BCTR is helping youth organizations across the state of New York launch a youth development program to help prevent teen pregnancy.

The Teen Outreach Program, or TOP, is a program for youth ages 12 to 17. It was developed for the St. Louis Public Schools in 1978. Since then, research has shown the program helps to prevent teen pregnancy and also improves academic outcomes such as increasing high school graduation rates.

With support from ACT for Youth, six agencies are funded by the New York State Department of Health to implement TOP.  As a replication partner, ACT for Youth staff will train facilitators, offer technical assistance and help the sites evaluate the program’s effectiveness. So far, one site in Long Island has nearly 300 youth enrolled.

2014 Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research (BCTR) portraits.

Divine Sebuharara

The program includes lessons about healthy behaviors and life skills including critical thinking skills, goal-setting, information about healthy relationships, communication, human development, and sexual health. TOP is unique because the curriculum component offers different levels for young people in different age groups, said Divine Sebuharara, an extension support specialist with ACT for Youth.

“Facilitators also have the ability to pull lessons from other levels,” she said. “So as they get to know the kids, they can tailor the lessons to their needs. They can provide more basic information for kids who need it, or they can provide more advanced information for students who are ready for the next level. This requires a skilled facilitator who really knows their youth. Skilled and caring facilitators are an integral part of this program’s success.”

In addition, the program includes a community service learning (CSL) component where students engage in at least 20 hours on a project, or projects, they decide upon and assist in planning and implementing. “By engaging in CSL while learning new content and skills, participants are able to apply their knowledge and develop a sense of self-efficacy,” Sebuharara said.

ACT for Youth was launched in 2000 to reduce risky sexual behavior among youth by advancing the principles of positive youth development. The program is a partnership between the BCTR, Cornell University Cooperative Extension of New York City, Ulster BOCES, and the University of Rochester Medical Center. It receives funding from the New York State Department of Health.

Save

(0) Comments.  |   Tags: ACT for Youth    Divine Sebuharara    health    sexual health    youth    youth development   
Page:12345...102030...Last »