247586 Finding our voice: Evaluating a drug-free advocacy project for African-American adolescents in Washington, DC and its implications for future community programs

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Orlando Barker, MS , Psychology, Howard University, Washington, DC
Rosalind Parker, JD , Ward 7 & 8 DC Prevention Center, BRIC, Inc., Washington, DC
Suzanne M. Randolph, PhD , Center for Community Prevention and Treatment Research, The MayaTech Corporation, Silver Spring, MD
The Ward 8 Drug-Free Coalition sponsored the Corporate Neighborhood Youth Project (CNYP) which served as a 10-week program involving 15-20 African-American adolescents from the Ward 8 (Far Southeast) Washington, DC during the summer of 2010. The youth received a stipend and participated in various activities pertaining to drug awareness, music production, life skills training and advocacy (alcohol and tobacco prevention). The Ward 8 Drug-free Coalition supported bills to ban the sale of single cigars and tobacco products sold to minors passed the DC City Council. After these bills were enacted to law, the CNYP engaged the youth in public policy and its implementation in Ward 8. The youth were trained to become alcohol and tobacco prevention advocates by educating local vendors on the upcoming tobacco laws as well as information on current alcohol compliance laws. Later in the program, a “participatory photography” project, called PhotoVoice was included to further increase youth enthusiasm for drug prevention advocacy. The following paper provides a discussion of the program, its goals and a psychological evaluation of the youth via a mixed methodology of individual self-report questionnaires and participant observation. Major themes emanating from observation and self-report assessments of the youth are analyzed and discussed. Finally, the implications of the advocacy component are reviewed and a recommendation for future versions of the project is offered.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Assess the adolescent socioemotional variables that may hinder progress in a youth advocacy program. 2. Identify the PhotoVoice method as a tool for increasing youth interest and enthusiasm for advocacy in community health-related issues. 3. Articulate the token economy method as a strategy to improve youth participation in an advocacy program.

Keywords: Adolescents, African American

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I served as the project evaluator for a summer advocacy project and current serves as the project coordinator for a developmental psychology lab at a higher institution of learning.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.