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Project BRAVE: A Participatory Approach to Addressing Youth Violence

Adam B. Becker, PhD, MPH, Community Health Sciences, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, 1440 Canal Street - SL29, New Orleans, LA 70112, 504-988-4734, abecker@tulane.edu and Jim Randels, Frederick Douglass High School and Students at the Center, 3820 St. Claude Ave., New Orleans, LA 70117.

Project BRAVE involves public high school students, teachers, community artist-activists, and public health researchers in a participatory process to understand and address youth violence in an economically marginalized, racially segregated neighborhood in New Orleans. This paper describes one pilot class. Students wrote about their personal experiences with violence. Teachers and students worked together to refine the stories for presentation. An artist/activist worked with the students to develop their stories into a performance piece. The research team facilitated a critical analysis process with students to determine root causes and protective factors for youth violence. This analysis formed the basis for student decisions about individuals, groups, and institutions to invite to their performance. Students facilitated a discussion with audience members which led to the identification of community-based strategies for youth violence prevention. Participant observation and group interviews were conducted to examine the impact of the pilot. Results suggest that participation in the pilot class led to: improved attendance in the class; an increase in youth self-perceptions as agents of change; positive relationships among students and teachers; reduction in violent behavior among participating youth; and identification of appropriate community-based strategies for youth violence prevention.

Learning Objectives: At the end of this session, participants in the session will be able to

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.

Health for All: Promoting Health in Special Populations

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA