Title

Youth Engagement and Support (YES) Kentucky

First Presenter's Institution

University of Kentucky

Second Presenter's Institution

Janet Kurzynske

Third Presenter's Institution

NA

Fourth Presenter's Institution

NA

Fifth Presenter's Institution

NA

Location

Portside

Strand #1

Social & Emotional Skills

Strand #2

Mental & Physical Health

Relevance

We will share information about a life skills program in collaboration with the YMCA for homeless and unstably housed youth in an urban area of Kentucky. We will focus on life skills related to social and emotional health and mental and physical health.

Brief Program Description

This presentation will share information about an educational life skills programs for homeless youth in Jefferson Count, Kentucky. Topics covered will include ideas for programs reaching homeless youth; curricula; retention and goal setting; and major focus areas for programs. Objectives include increased understanding of critical life skills; ideas for community collaborations; and knowledge of resources for this audience. Target audience is any youth educator.

Summary

The purpose of this presentation will be to share lessons learned and ideas for how to start an educational life skills programs for homeless and unstably housed youth in urban areas. The primary goal of the program to be shared is for target youth to exhibit an increase in the number of critical life skills they possess (relationships/communication, decision making/goal setting, stress/anger management, self-responsibility/boundaries, teamwork, personal safety, healthy lifestyles). Short term objectives for the program participants that will be discussed during the workshop include increased awareness/understanding of critical life skills; increased community collaborations; and opportunities for youth to engage in program planning/evaluation processes. Long term objectives include increases in the number of life skills; increased application of life skills, and evidence of self-sufficiency. Data are collected using a multi-methods approach that will be shared with participants.

The program is a collaboration with the YMCA Safe Place. The program vision employs a multidisciplinary Positive Youth Development approach that views youth in the context of the family and community and a trauma-informed care model that provides ongoing and intentional interventions for young people to participate in meaningful activities to improve their capacity to develop a health trajectory. Programming will be discussed with an emphasis on the need for response to local needs and grounding in research.

The workshop will focus on ideas for programs reaching homeless youth; research-based curricula; retention and goal setting; and major focus areas for programs. Some excellent resources will be shared with participants and given at no cost to participants.

Evidence

Short Term Results:

Result:1) Increase youth awareness of ways to attain/enhance critical life skills

Q1:Number of participants:538

Q2:Evaluation type: observation; focus group; survey; interview

Q3: When conducted: Every other month.

Q4: Analysis: Content analysis to identify themes.

Q5: Findings: A total of 114 life skills lessons were offered during the reporting period on topics including budgeting, job readiness, healthy choices, physical education, and communication.

Q5: Implications: Life skills lessons will help increase youth awareness of critical life skills needed in their lives and strategies for attaining these skills.

Result:2) Increase community awareness of the needs of homeless/unstably housed youth

Q1:Number of participants:538

Q2:Evaluation type: Focus group; secondary data; survey

Q3:When conducted: Fall 2015

Q4: Analysis: Content analysis to identify themes.

Q5: Findings: The primary findings from focus groups with program youth revealed that the youth want help getting jobs, help with housing, help accessing other services, and stated that they would like to feel like they belong to something and did not just get services at places.

Q5: Implications: The findings from focus groups were used to begin developing programming that emphasizes job readiness, access to resources, and bonding with peers to share similar experiences, lessons learned, and ideas that have worked. It is hoped that focusing programming on the topics that youth in the focus groups stated they most needed will maximize the utility and effectiveness of this program.

Result:3) Increase youth aspirations to become self-sufficient

Q1:Number of participants:538

Q2:Evaluation type: Observation; activity logs; survey

Q3: When conducted: Completed monthly via observation data and reports.

Q4: Analysis: Content analysis to identify themes, comparative analysis.

Q5: Findings: Three participating youth have gained housing for themselves. Ten participating youth gained employment. Two participating youth have begun working on their GED.

Q5: Implications: The youth who participate in this program will have greater opportunities to learn about and have access to routes for self-sufficiency, such as help with job readiness and getting a job, help with gaining housing, how to access necessities for a first apartment that typically they would not have been able to afford, computer skills, computer access for completion of GEDs and more.

Long Term Results:

Result: 1) Increased number of youth participants demonstrating an application of specified life skills.

Q1:Number of participants:538

Q2:Evaluation type: Survey; interview

Q3: When conducted: Surveys are completed every one to two months; one-on-one interviews are completed at end of each program.

Q4:Analysis:Content analysis

Q5:Findings:NA at this time

Q5: Implications: Over time it is anticipated that 100% of the youth participating in the life skills programs will begin to demonstrate an application of the life skills they are learning.

Result:2) Target youth exhibiting self-sufficiency as demonstrated through varied means of personal autonomy

Q1:Number of participants:538

Q2:Evaluation type: Interview; focus group; observation

Q3: When conducted: One-on-one interviews are completed at end of each program; focus groups are conducted at least once every six months; observation data and reports on monthly basis.

Q4: Analysis: Content analysis to identify themes.

Q5:Findings:NA at this time

Q5: Implications: Over time it is anticipated that 100% of the youth participating in the life skills programs will begin to exhibit increased self-sufficiency as a result of the life skills they are learning.

Result:3) Increase in community collaborations and partnerships that offer youth support systems and life skills resources

Q1:Number of participants:538

Q2:Evaluation type: Observation from staff and partners

Q3: When conducted: Observation data and reports on monthly basis.

Q4:Analysis:Content analysis; observation

Q5: Findings: In the first 6 months, Kentucky State University, Kentuckiana Works, Wayside Christian Mission, True UP, Skuvault, Frazier Museum, C.H.A.N.G.E., and KET have all worked as collaborators in the program with their employees serving as teachers and leaders. These collaborations have led to the utilization of numerous life skills for the youth in both programs. The Wayside collaboration taught the youth at the YDC how to access necessities for a first apartment that typically they would not have been able to afford. The KET, Skuvault, and True UP were utilized to bring in experts to facilitate life skills on a variety of topics. Kentuckiana Works helped youth to connect with jobs and opportunities to expand their networks. The continuance of these collaborations and the development of others are the key to this program working in the future.

Q5: Implications: Collaboration will be a KEY goal of this program to offer youth support systems and life skills resources throughout the grant and beyond. Collaborating with community partners ensures that the participants are exposed to a variety of jobs, people, and backgrounds. In addition, we have kept the Louisville Metro Council updated on our work at the YMCA Safe Place and hope to integrate other thought leaders into the program in the future.

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Kerri Ashurst is a Senior Extension Specialist for Family and Relationship Development in her 18th year at the University of Kentucky. Her primary areas of focus are support programming for military families; family stress and crisis and grief/loss; and interpersonal relationships. She has a PhD in Family Sciences and a Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy. Dr. Ashurst has brought in over 10 million in grant funding for work with at-risk audiences in Kentucky during her career.

Janet Kurzynske is a Professor in the Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition at the University of Kentucky. She has worked in this department since 1991, serving as Department chair for 5 years and currently serving as the Director for the Research Center for Families and Children through the school. She has been awarded many millions of dollars in federal funding over the course of her career focusing on at-risk families, capacity building for work with vulnerable audiences, food stamps and nutrition education, and much more.

Keyword Descriptors

homeless youth; youth life skills; social skills; workforce preparation

Presentation Year

2017

Start Date

3-7-2017 2:45 PM

End Date

3-7-2017 4:00 PM

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Mar 7th, 2:45 PM Mar 7th, 4:00 PM

Youth Engagement and Support (YES) Kentucky

Portside

This presentation will share information about an educational life skills programs for homeless youth in Jefferson Count, Kentucky. Topics covered will include ideas for programs reaching homeless youth; curricula; retention and goal setting; and major focus areas for programs. Objectives include increased understanding of critical life skills; ideas for community collaborations; and knowledge of resources for this audience. Target audience is any youth educator.