Concurrent Session 3C
Helping youth thrive: A randomized-controlled trial of a community-based positive youth development program
Kali Trzesniewski, Associate Director of Research, 4-H Youth Development Program and UC ANR Cooperative Extension Specialist, Dept. of Human Ecology, UC Davis
Shannon Horrillo, Associate Director of 4-H Program & Policy, UC ANR
Kendra Lewis, Evaluation Coordinator, 4-H Youth Development Program, UC ANR
Previous research has demonstrated that positive developmental and health outcomes for youth are associated with a variety of factors, including:
(1) being able to identify an inner source of motivation, or spark;
(2) possessing a mindset oriented toward learning and growth; and
(3) knowing how to effectively set and manage goals.
Youth who possess these skills are more likely to thrive and lead lives that promote overall health and wellness in themselves and their family and community (Benson, 2008; Blackwell, Trzesniewski, & Dweck, 2007; Gestsdottir, Bowers, von Eye, Napolitano, & Lerner, 2009). The University of California’s 4-H Youth Development Program (YDP) has translated this research into practice to advance this concept of thriving from a theoretical research concept to a comprehensive programmatic framework for organizations striving to help young people reach their fullest potential. The goal of the current project is to evaluate this newly developed program and inform ongoing curriculum development. It is anticipated that this strategy for promoting positive youth development, once fully evaluated and shown to have positive impacts, can be diffused through other states’ 4-H YDPs and potentially extend to other formal and non-formal education organizations.