The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

3016.0: Monday, November 17, 2003 - 9:15 AM

Abstract #63767

Know Y.A. R.O.O.T.S. (young adults recognizing our own true safe havens) in the community: A youth empowerment program for violence prevention within an African American teen population

Rashid Njai, BS, Health Behavior and Health Education/School of Public Health, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, 109 S. Observatory, SPH II, 5th Floor, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, 734-973-3158,

Know Y.A. R.O.O.T.S. (Young Adults Recognizing, redefining and reclaiming Our Own True Safe-havens) is a culturally relevant, community-based collaborative to minimize the impact of violence on youth in an African-American community in Flint, MI. This youth empowerment program is intended to establish a strong foundation for community change by drawing from various strategies of change: mass mobilization, social action, citizen participation, and public advocacy (Checkoway, 1995). The piloted program consisted of various public health and community based participatory action research methods including: Photovoice, an ethnic-identity exploratory curriculum, asset-based neighborhood mapping, group discussions and informal interviewing of adults who work with(in) the CDC funded Flint Youth Violence Prevention Center. The ‘core community’ of researchers, comprised of a graduate student in public health at the University of Michigan (Ruth Mott Scholar) and 4 high school students from the Greater Flint area (Ruth Mott Explorers), sought to organize ‘critical consciousness’ among a youth contingent around the issue of violence and how it pertains to their life experiences as well as five other teen participants. The use of pro-social ethnic messages and images, politically conscious hip-hop music, and culturally-specific accounts of the impact of violence were essential to the program’s appeal to the immediate community of concern. Issues that were salient for the project’s success included allowing the adolescents autonomy throughout the empowerment process, along with the concentration on ethnic identity development as a precursor to a positive adult identity. Process evaluation measures for the pilot program include a youth violence prevention curriculum, Photovoice booklet, and GIS asset map developed by the ‘core community.’

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Violence Prevention, Adolescents

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Program/Project Sustainability in Underserved Neighborhoods

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA