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Helping At-Risk Youth to ‘Think Big’: A Partnership between a College and a Community Agency

Robyn Maitoza


The literature on youth community service activities indicates that adolescents who are actively involved in their community have a stronger self-image and value themselves more than adolescents who do not take part (Conrad & Hedin, 1991; Shumer, 1997, 2005). Research suggests that youth community services programs have the potential to be an interesting and engaging means to promote positive youth development. Moreover, having at-risk youth engage in community service activities can be an opportune vehicle for promoting positive youth development and outcomes. The present study attempts to meet this need by promoting adolescent empowerment and a sense of community via a partnership between a liberal arts college and a community agency which serves underprivileged families and youth.  Quantitative results show that empathy and general self-efficacy scores increased among participants from pre- to post-test. Qualitative findings of all parties involved were positive. Implications this study are outlined as well.


community engagement, community-based research, community partnerships

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Partnerships is sponsored by North Carolina Campus Compact, and hosted by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. ISSN: 1944-1061
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