Online Program

Engaging youth as peer leaders for promoting instant recess in schools and communities- using a CBPR approach

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Katie Richards-Schuster, PhD, School of Social Work, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Bridget Christian, MSW, School of Social Work, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Barbara Blum-Alexander, MPH, MSW, Generation With Promise, Office of Community Health, Equity and Wellness, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, MI
Jamila Stevens, MSW, Generation With Promise, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, MI
Dameon Wilburn, BA, Generation With Promise, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, MI
Kimberlydawn Wisdom, MD, MS, Executive Offices, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit, MI

Background: Generation With Promise (GWP) – Henry Ford Health System (HFHS) aims at increasing physical activity and reducing obesity in low-income schools and communities in urban Detroit through innovative, youth-led practices. Purpose: This paper describes a case study of a youth leadership effort to increase physical activity in schools and communities. Drawing on the research of Dr. Yancey and Instant Recess©, youth leaders conducted assessments, created and piloted peer-developed modules, and led workshops to engage youth in replicating the modules in 13 middle and high schools in the region. This paper discusses the process and lessons learned. Significance: Despite the rise in obesity levels, there are reduced opportunities, especially in urban areas, for physical activity. Innovative practices that focus on youth leadership may represent a new model for schools and communities concerned about the lack of physical activity. Methods: The case study draws on community-based evaluation data including program surveys, qualitative interviews, youth narratives, youth-led evaluation, and program-level documentation. Findings: Findings suggest that young people have influenced physical activity in their schools and communities. Lessons learned include the importance of peer-developed training and materials, the importance of youth leadership, and the critical role of adults in facilitating youth participation. Conclusions: Young people can play leadership roles in shaping policies and practices to improve health in their schools and communities. Young people are in a unique position to serve as role models and leaders which can help facilitate healthy behaviors in ways that are different from adults.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
Discuss concrete strategies for activities that promote youth leadership and youth-led change efforts in schools and communities. Identify best practice characteristics for youth participation efforts in promoting physical activity and health practices in schools and in the community. Formulate ideas for strengthening youth participation in school health issues and overcoming potential barriers.

Keyword(s): Youth, Community-Based Health Promotion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the program manager for Generation With Promise youth promoting instant recess in Detroit school and communities. Among my scientific interests has been the development of strategies for youth leadership in promoting health lifestyles.
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.