CYFAR Sustainable Community Project Grantees

Children, Youth, and Families At-Risk (CYFAR) Sustainable Community Project Grantees represent a variety of communities across the United States and territories. Grantees are selected through a grant application process each year. The funds are used to improve the quality and quantity of comprehensive community-based programs for at-risk children, youth, and families supported by the Cooperative Extension System.  Additional information about CYFAR and the CYFAR grant process can be found on the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture website.

Funded projects are listed below.

Note: Different grant descriptions may use different terms to describe participants for which multiple terms exist. For example, terms such as Latinx, Latin@, Latino/a, or Latino may be used to describe participants in Sustainable Community Projects, all being potentially acceptable descriptors depending on participant identification. This decision to forgo the use of a single, uniform term across grants follows the suggestion by the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.) that the term with which participants most identify be used to describe them.

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Alaska

Grant Name:

4-H Dream Catchers Sustainable Community Project

Grant Description:

Alaska 4-H’s Dream Catchers project uses a combination of experiential learning activities, natural and programmatic mentoring, and evidence-based curricula delivery to reach at-risk teens in state supervision: detention/probation (Site 1) and foster/independent living (including homeless teens; Site 2). Building upon work accomplished under a 2014 CYFAR grant, Dream Catchers expands previous collaborations, incorporating new career mentoring approaches and other program enhancements, such as opportunities for paid internships and small business development, in response to persistent deficits experienced by these teen groups when aging out of or leaving state supervision. Anticipated program outcomes are that (a) teens build a diverse and caring network of adult mentors, both professional and personal, which (b) supports them and gives them resources for developing and enhancing skills in social competency, workforce development, and entrepreneurship. Dream Catchers’ long-term goals align with the 4-H Thriving Model which predicts long-term developmental outcomes of academic/vocational success, contribution to others through civic engagement, employability and economic stability, and happiness and wellbeing when using the model in positive youth development programming. Youth will have hope for the future and see themselves as active participants in deciding their futures, giving them reasons to trust, turn to, and seek out caring adults to support and mentor them. Program efficacy will be measured using the 4-H Thriving Model Program Evaluation, the CYFAR Common Measure: Workforce Preparation 15-item tool, and qualitative evaluation methods specifically designed by the project evaluator for use with protected populations.

Contact(s):

Mara Bacsujlaky, University of Alaska Fairbanks

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Arizona

Grant Name:

University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Sustainable Community Project to Promote Early Language and Literacy Development in Native Communities

Grant Description:

This project proposes developing a comprehensive, community-based, and sustainable program to promote young children’s early literacy in two American Indian communities in Arizona. This program uses research-based components to increase the amount of time caregivers spend reading with young children, improve the quality of caregivers’ book reading practices, and increase the use of nonbook reading activities that promote early literacy. Project staff will also enhance community capacity to sustain high quality early literacy programming that is culturally responsive. The program design is guided by an ecological approach where coordinated programming addresses multiple contexts in which the child develops. The initial year will be devoted to program planning, with family-level programs introduced during the 2nd and 3rd years and community-level programs during the 4th and 5th years. This project complements ongoing community-based early literacy programming and expands current Extension programming.

Contact(s):

Katherine Speirs, University of Arizona

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California/Nevada

Grant Name:

University of California and University of Nevada, Reno SCP: 4-H Student Nutrition Advisory Council

Grant Description:

The University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) and University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) will integrate the 4-H Student Nutrition Advisory Council (SNAC) program into communities in San Luis Obispo County, California; El Dorado County, California; and Clark County, Nevada (NV), where a high percentage of youth and families are Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) eligible and are eligible for the free and reduced price meals program. The target audiences for the 4-H SNAC Clubs programming are school-age children (K–8) and families in low-income schools. The program will serve youth that are at increased risk for negative outcomes: undernourishment; neglect; poor health; substance abuse; teenage pregnancy; crime; violence; and academic underachievement due to family, community, social, political, and economic conditions that they have not created. The 4-H SNAC Club program model will be expanded through a partnership between the University of California 4-H, CalFresh (SNAP-Ed), NV 4-H, NV Expanded Food and Nutrition Extension Programs, NV SNAP-Ed, local schools, and community partners. Community health and youth development professionals will design interventions at the social and environmental level to address social determinants of health impacting youth. Through this partnership, the program will also provide opportunities for youth to learn valuable healthy living, advocacy, and peer mentoring skills. Based on the outcomes achieved by similar projects, it is expected that participants will have (a) improved nutritional and physical health knowledge and practices, (b) improved confidence in leadership and presentation skills, (c) increased career readiness, and (d) increased self-efficacy for being an advocate of health.

Contact(s):

Anne Iaccopucci, University of California

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Colorado

Grant Name:

Family Engagement: Bringing Families and Decision Makers Together for Collaboration

Grant Description:

This program model develops a synergistic relation between the research-based, 2-generation Family Leadership Training Institute (FLTI) curriculum and a unique dual-capacity collaboration training for FLTI participants and public administrators. FLTI provides leadership development and civic education training for family and community leaders who are dedicated to community engagement but may be impeded by limited leadership and civic skills to effect systems and policy changes for youth and families. Participants attend a 1-day retreat and 20 weekly, 3-hour training sessions. The adult and youth components run concurrently. Interactive training sessions focus on leadership and personal development, community needs assessment, development of collaborative networks, communication using a variety of media options, and how policy affects outcomes for families. Adult and youth participants apply lessons learned by planning and implementing an individual community project that serves others. In addition, a dual-capacity collaboration training adapted from the Strategic Doing© model (Morrison, 2013) and the Public Executive Leadership Academy (PELA; Getha-Taylor & Morse, 2013) will be developed. The training will focus on bringing together the content and context experts to build mutual respect and trust; networks for collaboration; securing agreements for collective action; and community action plans to address complex community social, health, and workforce issues. Additionally, the model includes the development of a network of local partners through a Civic Design Team to assist in building a community network of support for family and youth leaders.

Contact(s):

Patti Schmitt, Colorado State University

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Hawaii

Grant Name:

Creating a Village for Transition into Adulthood through Youth-Adult Partnerships, Teen Mentoring, and Community Sustainability

Grant Description:

The Creating a Village project is a multilevel educational intervention supported through the incorporation of several positive youth development models. It is designed to provide education, mentorship, and leadership opportunities to all participants in the program. It utilizes a 4-part format: (a) skills mastery in life management skills such as culinary, healthy living, financial literacy, and agricultural science, which has been a growing demand from the community and incorporates UH Manoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources expertise; (b) mentorship by teens following the 4-H Ready to Go-Mentor Training Toolkit curriculum; (c) adult-youth partnerships by which community adults with specific skill sets related to the skills mastery program work with youth to develop a mutually beneficial joint project; and (d) a pilot program that compares the no-fee program implemented during Years 2–5 of the grant cycle with a postgrant sliding-fee-based program offered to both at-risk and general public audiences as a means of sustaining project outreach. All levels of the program will incorporate content relevant to educational and career pathways to support youth in workforce preparedness, including soft skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving.

Contact(s):

Heather Greenwood-Junkermeier, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Nancy Ooki, University of Hawaii at Manoa

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Idaho

Grant Name:

Juntos Idaho

Grant Description:

Juntos Idaho, the University of Idaho's Sustainable Community Project, will focus on the CYFAR Teen Outcome, involving middle and high school Latino students and parents in a robust club program; improve academic outcomes and college and career awareness; and provide enriching activities to support skill building. The University of Idaho's Sustainable Community Project will use the Juntos program model and curriculum developed by North Carolina State University Extension. Juntos Idaho will serve two sites in central Idaho: Blaine County and Twin Falls County. Collaborating partners are the Blaine County School District, I Have a Dream Foundation, College of Southern Idaho Blaine County Community Campus, Blaine County Housing Authority Balmoral Community, and Twin Falls Extension. Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs, College of Southern Idaho, community partners, schools, and 4-H extension faculty will provide the four components of Juntos Idaho programming: (a) teen/parent weekly workshops, (b) teen-directed 4-H clubs and community activities, (c) one-on-one success coaching and mentoring, and (d) campus visits to introduce requirements for careers. Program evaluation includes CYFAR Common Measures Core Competencies (Program Quality, Demographics, Participation), Juntos parent and youth surveys, workforce preparation assessment, and 4-H Common Measures of College/Career Readiness.

Contact(s):

Judith McShane, University of Idaho

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Idaho/Washington

Grant Name:

DIVE4Tech Joint Sustainable Community Project: A University of Idaho (UI) and Washington State University (WSU) Collaboration

Grant Description:

This project focuses on increasing high school graduation rates and college aspirations for at-risk and vulnerable Latinx and Native American teens while increasing their workforce readiness, technology skills, resilience, and social protective factors. DIVE4Tech’s goals are to improve student attendance and grades, increase the sense of belonging among Latinx and Native American students and families in schools and communities, increase family engagement, increase teen use of technology for developing workforce skills, and increase the percentage of Latinx and Native American students graduating high school and attending higher education. This project will accomplish these goals by focusing on four core areas that have been shown to consistently promote and improve academic success: parental involvement, success coaching and case management, 4-H Clubs, and college visits. In this project, Latinx and Native American youth in Grades 6–12 (ages 11–19) will be served over 5 years.

Contact(s):

Judith McShane, University of Idaho

Nancy Deringer, Washington State University

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Indiana

Grant Name:

Purdue University - Indiana CYFAR Sustainable Community – JUNTOS

Grant Description:

JUNTOS Indiana will provide Latino youth and their parents in Indiana communities with resources covering 4-H Life Skills, dropout prevention, mental health, social condition, and academic success and workforce and college preparation.

Contact(s):

Casey Mull, Purdue University

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Iowa

Grant Name:

Acceptance Commitment Therapy Program for Custodial Grand Children and Custodial Grandparents

Grant Description:

Currently, there are more than three million custodial grandparents providing care for their grandchildren without the presence of birth parents in the United States. Due to earlier exposure to adversity, custodial grandchildren often exhibit emotional and behavioral difficulties at home and at school. Custodial grandparents also experience depression and anxiety from the stress of childcare and face health challenges due to aging. Despite their needs and challenges, both groups are underserved with little access to social and technical resources.

Contact(s):

Jeong Eun Lee, Iowa State University

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Kentucky

Grant Name:

Uplift: Empowering Today's Youth for Tomorrow's Future

Grant Description:

The purpose of this grant is to provide a comprehensive life skills development program for high-risk youth and strengths-based programming for their families. Primary goals include increased youth awareness/understanding of critical life skills for self-sufficiency, increased parental/guardian awareness/understanding of critical parenting skills for self-efficacy, and increased community partnerships among youth and family organizations in target communities. The program model utilized is the YMCA Safe Place Program Model. The program vision employs a multidisciplinary positive youth development and trauma-informed approach that is grounded in research, views youth in the context of the family and community, and develops programming based on local needs.

Contact(s):

Kerri Ashurst, University of Kentucky

Kenneth Jones, University of Kentucky

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Maine

Grant Name:

Maine 4-H Community Central: Engaging Teens in College Readiness and Workforce Development

Grant Description:

UMaine Extension staff will be physically placed in public housing sites to (a) provide quality out-of-school time programming and (b) link crucial ecological entities in the lives of teens (i.e., family, elders, school, after-school groups, faith community, etc.) in order to grow leadership opportunities, strengthen workforce preparation and college readiness skills, and build social capital.

Contact(s):

Kristy Ouellette, University of Maine

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Maryland

Grant Name:

Addressing Youth Mental Health of Latinx Families by Strengthening Family-Skills and Engaging in Sports

Grant Description:

This project aims to improve the mental health among the youth of Latinx families by strengthening healthy parenting practices and positive youth development and engaging youth in organized sports. This project will engage underserved Latinx families in three interrelated programs: the Family-Skills program to strengthen healthy parenting practice; Your Thoughts Matter: Navigating Mental Health; and the Padres Preparados, Jóvenes Saludables program to strengthen positive youth development and engage youth in soccer practices. The program for adolescents between 10 and 14 years old, Your Thoughts Matter: Navigating Mental Health, is a 4-H National resource. The goal is to increase awareness of how many people are affected by mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. The second program, Padres Preparados, Jóvenes Saludables, aims to strengthen prosocial competencies. This project will focus on increasing prosocial skills among youth (communication, conflict management, identity, etc.) and healthy energy balance related behaviors.

Contact(s):

Ghaffar Hurtado Choque, University of Maryland

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Minnesota

Grant Name:

FDLTCC Bimaaji'idiwin (Saving Each Other`s Lives) Harvest Sustainable Community Project

Grant Description:

Focusing on “Leadership Through Harvest,” the Bimaaji'idiwin Sustainable Community Project borrows from the strength of multigenerational learning and community that is integral to Anishinaabe culture. Using the connecting thread of harvest, both in the sense of food sovereignty and traditional cultural events, project staff will work with community sites to ground youth in community and build skills that support youth resiliency. Programming will focus on the National CYFAR Teen Outcome. Programming will connect teens to community, culture, and skills that contribute to positive leadership. Community stakeholder input collected during the 2020 Environmental Institute Strategic Planning meeting emphasized serving youth in those critical teen years as a need in the Anishinaabe community. Previous youth programming has helped to pilot a model of outreach that integrates culture-based activities to motivate Native youth toward healthier lifestyles for the betterment of themselves, their families, and especially their community. The foundation of programming is cultural connection, youth engagement, cultural events, youth mentorship, and leadership all built around a holistic understanding of harvest. Using seasonal harvest of traditional foods as well as organic agricultural production, students will gain skills, knowledge, and connection through the understanding of food sovereignty. This project focuses on one of the most fundamental, and often overlooked, protective factors for communities experiencing disparate health stresses: the incorporation of culture-based traditional activities into outreach programs. Cultural interventions address wellness in a holistic sense, recognizing the balance among one's tradition, culture, language, and community.

Contact(s):

Courtney Kowalczak, Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College

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Minnesota

Grant Name:

Minnesota 4-H Youth Development CYFAR Project: STEAM Connect Club

Grant Description:

Somali American youth and families need programs that celebrate their strengths and build social inclusion while creating opportunities for parents and youth to enhance their educational pathways. Specifically, youth and parents need opportunities to address what community members have identified as “the cultural gap” between US teens and their Somali-born parents. In response, the Minnesota 4-H CYFAR team designed a joint family and youth program model that has three key elements: (a) Ka Joog 4-H STEAM Connects Clubs that ignite youth interest in learning about science, technology, engineering, arts, and math, and create opportunities for youth to imagine and plan for their educational futures; (b) parent/guardian sessions through Partnering for School Success to gain resources that help them connect with their children and support their education; and (c) parent and youth shared programming activities to share learning with one another, cocreate educational plans, and have shared educational experiences.

Contact(s):

Jennifer Skuza, University of Minnesota

Joanna Tzenis, University of Minnesota

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Missouri

Grant Name:

Expanding 4-H to Urban Latino/a Audiences

Grant Description:

The Expanding 4-H to Urban Latino/a Audiences project will increase healthy behaviors and educational aspirations for school-age Latino/a youth (beginning between the ages of 10 and 13 years) and their families in two Kansas City, Missouri, communities: Three Trails Elementary and Clifford Nowlin Middle School. In both communities, the majority of students are eligible for free and/or reduced lunch, and 31% percent of students are Latino/a. The surrounding neighborhoods offer limited access to parks and recreation facilities and are food deserts. The project will engage school-age Latino/a youth and families in culturally relevant programming, including a 24-week after-school soccer program using the US Soccer Foundation’s Soccer for Success model. Latino/a youth and families will also be supported in establishing 4-H clubs, providing high-context and sustained 4-H experiences. The Juntos 4-H model will introduce after-school tutoring and expanded family activities as the youth reach Grades 8 through 12. The project will be scaled to additional sites in Kansas City, Missouri, and other urban locations. In Year 1, the project will reach 60 youth with 3,240 program contact hours and 300 family members. By Year 5, the project is projected to reach 540 youth with 58,320 program contact hours and 2,700 family members.

Contact(s):

Beth Edwards, University of Missouri

Maria Guadalupe Fabregas, University of Missouri

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Montana

Grant Name:

Montana Sustainable Communities: Social, Emotional, and Physical Wellness for Rural and Native American Youth

Grant Description:

The Social, Emotional, and Physical Health and Wellness program model provides at-risk youth with tools to increase and enhance social and emotional learning. Youth learn coping skills, increase emotional intelligence, address and solve social problems, and build leadership and life skills. The model includes training for youth related to mental health using the Youth Aware of Mental Health (YAM) curriculum. It increases students’ knowledge about depression and anxiety, enhances coping skills and emotional resiliency, and reduces suicidal ideation and attempts. The program model was previously adapted for youth in Montana including Native Americans. YAM is taught to freshmen in a health enhancement class as part of the regular school curriculum. The CYFAR project will bring together Extension professionals, school administrators and educators, students, and community organizations and businesses through four pathways: (a) formal youth education by Extension professionals (YAM); (b) informal enrichment programs led by school educators (e.g., technology clubs); (c) informal, out-of-school-time programs led by Extension professionals to help guide peer and leadership groups as they develop activities related to social, emotional, and physical health and wellness; and (d) outreach and engagement to community organizations and businesses. The YAM training for youth occurs first, followed by approximately 15–20 weeks of 4-H after-school meetings during which the peer and leadership group develops an in-depth plan to reach out to their respective communities to engage organizations and businesses in a campaign to increase awareness of social, emotional, and physical health and wellness issues. The technology club will then meet during lunch or after school for approximately 15–20 weeks to develop technology in support of the community campaign (i.e., a phone app and QR code; an online magazine; and acrylic, laser-cut tokens).

Contact(s):

Mark Schure, Montana State University

Shana Henry, Stone Child College

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Nebraska

Grant Name:

Youth Civic Engagement: Using Simulations and Design Thinking

Grant Description:

An engaging and innovative learning program including online simulations and design thinking will provide civics, entrepreneurship, and leadership education to at-risk youth in two of the most highly impoverished communities with large racial and ethnic minority populations in Nebraska (Douglas and Scotts Bluff Counties). This project incorporates two evidence-based curricula adapted for use in a 20-hour summer camp: iCivics, which uses online gaming simulations to promote citizenship and civic engagement, and Lean LaunchPad®, an experiential learning tool to improve problem-solving skills. Participants will comprised of seventh- and eighth-grade youth in the selected sites. Program topics and the age range were selected based on the project team's prior research and experience in Extension programming, which pointed to lack of civic engagement and need for a sense of community as critical social issues affecting individuals and as barriers to community revitalization in high-poverty communities with large ethnic minority populations. The program objectives are to promote youths’ civic knowledge and skills, attitude, and behavioral engagement and to increase community capacity that leads to sustaining this program. A mixed-methods longitudinal panel design will be used to measure program outcomes at baseline and follow-up assessments. Focus group interviews will be conducted at the end of each program year. The team will develop a pilot curriculum and test feasibility in Year 1, refine the curriculum in Year 2, expand the program in Year 3, adapt the curriculum for the after-school model in Year 4, and integrate the program into 4-H Extension programming in Year 5.

Contact(s):

Evan Choi, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

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Nevada

Grant Name:

Let's Discover STEM

Grant Description:

Early exposure to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)—whether in school or at home—supports children's overall academic growth, develops early critical thinking and reasoning skills, and enhances later interest in STEM study and careers. Latino children are particularly at risk for not developing strong STEM skills and attitudes. The primary purpose of Stepping into STEM is to increase young Latino children's interest, knowledge, and engagement in STEM activities and to encourage and teach Spanish-speaking parents to be positive forces for their children's early STEM learning as they enter and progress through school. The proposed project will focus on two targeted communities (Reno and Las Vegas), defined as zip code neighborhoods that contain several high-risk elementary schools. Target families already or soon will have children attending these schools. The project will consist of an 8-week series of hands-on, interactive parent-child workshops where children will be exposed to and engage in a variety of activities focused on foundational STEM skills. This project anticipates reaching approximately 763 families during the 5 years of the project with over 18,312 hours of contact time. The Integrated Program Components will be addressed through multigenerational and multisystem designs; technology-integrated curriculum, staff training, and connectivity; and community collaboration and train-the-trainer efforts. Evaluation will include assessments of children's interest in and knowledge of STEM concepts; engagement of children in STEM activities; parent practices and confidence, home-school connections, and growth in the number of community partnerships and school sites implementing the program; and program sustainability.

Contact(s):

YaeBin Kim, University of Nevada Reno

Daniel Weigel, University of Nevada Reno

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New York

Grant Name:

4-H UNITY (Urban Neighborhoods Improved Through Youth)

Grant Description:

4-H Urban Neighborhoods Improved Through Youth (UNITY) combines 4-H youth development, civic engagement, nutrition, and parent education to ensure teens ages 14–18 years demonstrate the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors necessary for fulfilling, contributing lives and promotes healthy lifestyles among teens and their parents/guardians. 4-H UNITY’s program model, 5-year plan, and curricula are grounded in positive youth development research and the ecological principles of working within the context of family and community. Participants meet weekly after school and complete summer employment experiences. Each of the two counties serve two cohorts of 12–15 teens for 2 years and then will repeat the 2-year model. The UNITY Teen Leaders will demonstrate improved leadership and workforce development skills as their community projects, job shadowing, and internships provide opportunities for real-world skill application. They will gain the skills needed to prepare for college, careers, and citizenship. UNITY will establish a strong foundation for long-term sustainability by intentionally engaging local government leaders, businesses, and community organizations in ongoing partnerships to ensure UNITY’s continuation.

Contact(s):

June Mead, Cornell University

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North Carolina/Idaho

Grant Name:

The Juntos Sustainable Community Project

Grant Description:

The Juntos Sustainable Community Project is a 4-H life skills, technology-enhanced, dropout prevention and college preparation program with Latinx youth and their parents in North Carolina and Idaho. The project uses a defined curriculum for parents and teens with four wraparound components: (a) family engagement which includes a 5-week middle school or a 6-week high school Juntos Family Workshop Series followed by bimonthly family nights to increase parent involvement and school communication; (b) monthly individualized success coaching by a local Juntos Site Coordinator with each student to help them with their academic progress; (c) after-school Juntos 4-H club meetings and activities twice a month throughout the school year; and (d) a week-long summer college experience, 4-H summer programming, and full-day college family events, soccer tournaments, and other educational events and field trips. The project has six goals: (a) increase Latinx academic success by improving student attendance and grades in school, (b) increase the sense of belonging among Latinx students and families in their schools and communities, (c) increase family engagement that leads to Latinx students’ educational success, (d) increase Latinx teens’ use of technology for workforce skills necessary for the 21st century digital economy, (e) increase the percentage of Latinx students graduating and attending higher education, and (f) increase the Juntos project's long-term sustainability as measured by Marek, Mancini, and Brock’s (2003) seven factors of sustainability (leadership competence, effective collaboration, understanding community, demonstrating and disseminating program impact, strategic funding, staff involvement and integration, and program responsiveness). In Grades 8–12 (ages 13–19), 390 high-context, high-contact Latinx youth will be served over the 5 years of project funding.

Contact(s):

Judith McShane, University of Idaho

Diana Urieta, North Carolina State University

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North Dakota

Grant Name:

Building Community Capacity and Resilience through 4-H in ND Tribal Nation

Grant Description:

The program model for Building Community Capacity and Resilience through 4-H in North Dakota Tribal Nations is a 4-H science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics development program for rural Native American North Dakota youth at four community sites. The Circle of Courage Model will be followed to provide youth with a sense of belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity through educational activities using the culturally relevant themes of past, present, and future.

Contact(s):

Diane Hahn, North Dakota State University

Heidi Ziegenmeyer, Cankdeska Cikana Community College

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Ohio

Grant Name:

Seed to Bloom (StB) 4-H S.T.E.A.M. Sustainable Community Project

Grant Description:

Each year, a cohort of 25 program participants per site (of which there are three) will be identified. They will receive one 60-minute lesson each week (Monday through Thursday) throughout the funded grant years. This model will include peer education from teens as well as the participation of youth in Grades 9–12 in the Research Extension Apprentice Program (REAP) on campus. Younger program participants will be recommended for participation in the 2-week Seed to Bloom Ag-STEM Institute summer camp. The desired long-term results described in the logic model are (a) enhanced community partnership and relationships with Seed to Bloom 4-H after-school programming, (b) increased frequency of healthy eating behaviors and decreasing unhealthy eating behaviors, and (c) increase in family and community involvement in changing patterns of food consumption. In addition, the desired short-term results are to (a) increase children's exposure (grades K–8) to science, technology, engineering, agriculture, and mathematics experiential learning activities, (b) increase nutritional knowledge and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as decrease unhealthy food choices (by lowering intake of sugary drinks and fatty foods), (c) increase physical activity, (d) increase family and community involvement in improving food consumption, (e) increase access to food by engaging in how to grow food using two production systems (aeroponics and hydroponics) and use of a soil base medium (raised beds and/or container gardens), and (f) increase participants' knowledge of career choices.

Contact(s):

Prosper Doamekpor, Central State University

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Ohio

Grant Name:

Southside Simple Suppers Scale-up (S4): Expansion of a Validated Family Meals Program for At-Risk Children and Youth

Grant Description:

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends participation in family meals as a childhood obesity prevention strategy due to the protective effect of participation in healthy mealtime routines on child diet and weight. Unfortunately, parents face multiple barriers to establishing healthy family mealtime routines (e.g., limited nutrition knowledge and cooking/food preparation skills and time and budget limitations). To date, there are few evidence-informed family meals curricula that equip parents/caregivers to overcome these barriers. Particularly lacking are programs tailored to at-risk audiences. The Southside Simple Suppers Scale-up team has addressed this problem by developing a 10-week multicomponent, multilevel family meals intervention study, Simple Suppers, aimed at eliciting positive changes in child dietary intake and health. The multidisciplinary team involved in this CYFAR Sustainable Community Project proposes a 5-year scale-up project of the Simple Suppers program in Head Start centers located in multiple settings on the southside of Columbus, Ohio, where the city has identified an urgent need for such programming based on documented rates of poverty, drug abuse, and crime. The impact of this project will be maximized in the short- and long-term by: (a) utilizing the CYFAR Sustainable Community Project national framework and knowledge network, (b) collaborating with established programmers doing complementary work in the area, (c) establishing a Southside Simple Suppers Scale-up advisory board, and (d) incorporating and expanding on existing neighborhood food and agriculture resources (e.g., urban gardens, towers). Successful completion of the proposed project will set the stage to expand programming in other areas of high socioeconomic need in Ohio and surrounding states.

Contact(s):

Carolyn Gunther, Ohio State University

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Ohio/Virginia

Grant Name:

Bridge2Health: An Intergenerational Mentoring Program

Grant Description:

BRIDGE2Health applies a community-based participatory research method using intergenerational approaches to programming in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and Amherst County, Virginia. The target youth population includes teenagers, approximately half of whom are in foster and/or kinship (e.g., grandparent) care; older adult participants include community volunteers affiliated with a community partner. Annual cohorts of paired teen and older adult mentors engage in a train-the-trainer model by which participants build skills with age peers and then with intergenerational partners before engaging in community outreach. Curricula are Extension and 4-H approved, culturally appropriate, responsive to student interests, and in support of CYFAR principles such as the Teen Leadership 20 and Youth Engaged in Learning about Leadership curricula. The BRIDGE2Health curriculum is designed to help teens build skills described in the USDA Science Blueprint Theme 5: Ag Science Policy Leadership, Beacon for Science objective: "contribute to safer, healthier, vibrant, sustainable, and innovative communities." Teens build these skills and experience belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity by engaging in evidence-based curricula that incorporate intergenerational strategies. By engaging teens and older adults as partners in identifying needs and assets to which they can jointly respond through bidirectional mentoring, this project anticipates achievement of short-term goals that include formation of trusting, supportive relationships; positive social norms; and belonging. Long-term goals include teen skill building and resilience. The two communities, working with The Ohio State University Extension and Virginia Cooperative Extension, will have better coordinated, sustainable services reflecting community needs.

Contact(s):

Shannon Jarrott, Ohio State University

Crystal Tyler-Mackey, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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Oklahoma

Grant Name:

The United We Can: African American Youth Entrepreneurship Program

Grant Description:

United We Can! targets three primary aims known to impact academic attainment and workforce preparation: (a) improving African American (AA) parental involvement in school, (b) building AA youth self-efficacy and social emotional learning, and (c) creating a sense of belonging among a group of positively focused AA peers and to a positive social institution (school). These aims are accomplished through six primary evidence-based activities: (a) five weekly educational workshops that increase parental involvement and teach youth entrepreneurship skills; (b) seven monthly family night booster sessions that enhance family cohesion and access to community resources; (c) weekly data-driven success coaching that provides youth with essential role models and teaches critical thinking, problem-solving, and goal setting while empowering parental engagement; (d) monthly 4-H clubs for AA youth that build life skills through continued entrepreneurship training and internships with local businesses; (e) eight weekly summer activities that enhance peer affiliations, culminating in an extended stay on the Oklahoma State University Stillwater and Langston University campuses to expose youth to career opportunities; and (f) the formation of a local project advisory committee to guide sustainability efforts.

Contact(s):

Shar Carter, Langston University

Ron Cox, Oklahoma State University

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Oklahoma

Grant Name:

Unidos Se Puede

Grant Description:

This project proposes to increase academic performance, reduce high-risk behaviors, and increase small business start-ups among Latino immigrant youth who are at risk for not completing high school. The Unidos Se Puede! program model will be implemented through a 6-week family workshop series, training in entrepreneurship, monthly booster sessions, weekly one-on-one coaching, monthly 4H Entrepreneurship Clubs, and a Summer Youth Academy for at-risk youth. An interrupted time series design will be used to evaluate key outcomes of the project. This project promotes the CYFAR Teen Outcome and will demonstrate increases in knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behavior necessary for fulfilling, contributing lives.

Contact(s):

Ron Cox, Oklahoma State University

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Oklahoma/West Virginia

Grant Name:

Oklahoma State University and West Virginia University Sustainable Community Project (SCP): The United We Can: Youth Entrepreneurship Program

Grant Description:

The ¡Unidos Se Puede! (United We Can!) program is a family-based program that targets low-income middle school youth and their families. The United We Can! (UWC) program helps these youth do better in school, avoid risky behaviors such as drug use and teen pregnancy, and reduce the chronic stress in their lives that lead to school dropout and long-term physical and emotional problems. UWC has three major components: family engagement, youth personal agency, and positive peer affiliations. Families attend a series of meetings, during which UWC staff use fun activities and games to help parents become more involved in their child's schooling, learn general parenting skills, become more comfortable with the US education system, and learn how to advocate for their child's success. In addition to increased school engagement, UWC program sessions help parents (a) network with others in a way that reduces social isolation, (b) regain a sense of control over their and their child's future, and (c) cultivate the hope necessary to successfully cope with stress and practice positive parenting. These sessions are followed up by 14 monthly booster sessions, during which UWC staff will connect parents and youth to community resources, introduce new themes, and practice the skills already learned. The Youth Personal Agency component empowers youth to take control of their own future. Youth are assigned to a success coach who works with them to develop a personal success plan focused on educational goals and critical life skills. Coaches are young adults who are enrolled in college or have recently graduated. Coaches monitor students' academic progress using data provided by the school on absences, grades, and behavior problems. When challenges arise, coaches use the challenges to help youth develop life skills such as emotion regulation, goal setting, critical thinking, problem-solving, and other attributes of positive youth development (e.g., personal care, study habits, time management). Coaches also maintain regular contact with parents to help foster strong parent-adolescent relationships and to encourage and empower their involvement in their child's academic achievement. For the positive peer affiliations component, youth participate in regular activities (monthly during the school year and weekly during the summer) designed to provide a space where they can bond with each other and develop a sense of belonging with a group of like-minded peers. Activities focus on exposure to science-, technology-, engineering-, and mathematics-related careers as well as training in entrepreneurship, including an end-of-year competition judged by successful business owners from the community. A final summer outing takes youth to a major college campus. Here youth begin to envision themselves completing a 4-year degree by interacting with professors and students in specially designed workshops on diverse topics such as DNA sequencing, robotics, social science data collection, and videography.

Contact(s):

Nila Cobb, West Virginia University

Ron Cox, Oklahoma State University

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Rhode Island

Grant Name:

Project StRIde: Science and Technology Reinforced by Innovative Dietary Education with Rhode Island Youth

Grant Description:

The University of Rhode Island Children, Youth, and Families At-Risk Sustainable Communities Project, Project StRIde: Science and Technology Reinforced by Innovative Dietary Education with Rhode Island Youth, is an ambitious 5-year initiative to deliver an out-of-school program to low-income, racially and ethnically diverse, urban Rhode Island youth (Grades 3–5; n=600: n=300 program, n=300 control) and their families to address two critical overarching disparities: the science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) academic achievement gap and dietary behaviors/food-related skills. To achieve this goal, the University of Rhode Island Cooperative Extension network and key community partners in Providence and Newport, Rhode Island, will deliver and sustain an interdisciplinary, STEAM-focused food literacy outreach program consisting of (a) a 6-week summer camp program emphasizing experiential and technology-enhanced learning and civic engagement, (b) a 4-part family night program, and (c) an Annual Youth Food Summit.

Contact(s):

Sarah Amin, University of Rhode Island

Katie Balestracci, University of Rhode Island

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South Carolina

Grant Name:

Clemson-South Carolina State Sustainable Community Project

Grant Description:

During the school year, children in Grades 3 through 8 will participate for 2–4 hours weekly in science, technology, engineering, and math activities. During the summer, students will participate in Camp Voyager, a 1-week technology camp. An estimated 30 students from each of four sites in South Carolina will be targeted. The desired long-term results are (a) to involve community partners in improving educational outcomes for students from Allendale, Anderson, and Jasper Counties; (b) to integrate science, technology, engineering, and math into the everyday experiences of children; (c) to integrate CYFAR youth participants into the 4-H Youth Development Program; and (d) to create a self-sustaining program at the conclusion of the project.

Contact(s):

Boyd Owens, South Carolina State University

Mark Small, Clemson University

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South Dakota/North Dakota

Grant Name:

Strengthening the Heartland: Promoting Life Readiness in Rural Youth

Grant Description:

Given the aging workforce in rural North and South Dakota, mentally healthy youth who possess life skills are critical to filling the expected increase in vacancies in the future workforce. Social and emotional learning (SEL) skills, such as emotion regulation and self-awareness, reduce anxiety, allowing youth to combat stress and focus on life readiness skills needed in the workplace. To promote life readiness, the current project will implement an SEL program followed by a life readiness curriculum in six communities in North and South Dakota. School counselors will facilitate Second Step in middle schools through weekly SEL lessons which include media-based content and hands-on activities. Ninth graders will then attend a Career Camp at a land-grant university in their state to introduce careers in food, agriculture, natural resources, and human sciences during workshops facilitated by Extension professionals. Promotion of food, agriculture, natural resources, and human sciences and the skills needed in those careers will continue through a high school life readiness curriculum with lessons created by Extension professionals. Youth will be evaluated at the beginning and end of each year for changes in SEL skills and workforce preparation. The promotion of SEL and life readiness is expected to develop healthy, productive youth capable of contributing to an aging workplace.

Contact(s):

Amber Letcher, South Dakota State University

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Tennessee

Grant Name:

University of Tennessee Extension – Sustainable Community Project

Grant Description:

The mission of the University of Tennessee's Sustainable Communities Project is to enhance educational curricula, develop linkages to support families, and provide technical assistance and training for after-school staff. The project focuses on middle-school-age youth and seeks to improve their knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors necessary for fulfilling, contributing lives. The program targets high-risk, school-age youth and their families who are experiencing trauma-inducing environments, academically challenged, potential dropouts, more likely to engage in delinquent behaviors, and lacking prosocial and emotional learning skills and strong positive role models. The sites the project serves have a large number of children who live in poverty. The primary content focuses on three areas: (a) social and emotional learning; (b) students’ academics through science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) agriculture, STEM nutrition, STEM robotics, and STEM engineering programming; and (c) intensive family engagement programming. Nonacademic content, such as leadership, decision-making, positive relationships, and increased self-work, is also stressed. The philosophy of this project believes youth must first address their social and emotional needs before academic gains can occur.

Contact(s):

Matthew Devereaux, University of Tennessee

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Texas

Grant Name:

Growing U

Grant Description:

The Growing U project aims to reduce childhood obesity through programming at six sites in six Texas counties. Each grant year, new youth will be recruited to be in the Growing U program resulting in five cohorts at the end of the 5 years. In Year 1, youth will meet in the spring for 1 hour twice a week for 10 weeks. They will be taught from the Learn, Grow, Eat, & Go! and Junior Master Gardener curricula for a total of 20 hours of contact time per youth. In Years 2 through 5, youth will meet for 1 hour twice a week for 20 weeks learning with the Learn, Grow, Eat, & Go!, Junior Master Gardener, and Walk Across Texas programs for a total of 40 hours of contact time per youth. Each program will begin in the fall, allowing for fall and spring gardens. A combined total of 37,800 contact hours will be given over the course of the grant.

Contact(s):

Rukeia Draw-Hood, Prairie View A&M University

David Wright, Texas A&M University

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Texas

Grant Name:

Prairie View A&M University Sustainable Community Project

Grant Description:

This project is a dropout prevention and college preparation program for Latinx youth and their parents in Texas. The program’s goal is to help youth enter higher education and then the workforce. Juntos builds resilience among Latinx teens and their families through parent involvement, life skills development, one-on-one coaching, and connections with caring adults. This is an evidence-based program with a curriculum for parents and teens fashioned around four wraparound components: (a) family engagement, (b) monthly individualized success coaching with each student by a local Juntos site coordinator, (c) after-school Juntos 4-H club meetings and activities, and (d) a week-long summer college experience. The focus will be on increasing the number of minority students pursuing enrollment in postsecondary education; being aware of college majors; and taking interest in science, technology, engineering, math, and agriculture careers. These goals will be met by improving student attendance and grades in school, increasing the sense of belonging among Latinx students and families in their schools and communities, increasing family engagement, increasing teens’ use of technology, increasing the percentage of Latinx students graduating and attending higher education, and increasing the Juntos Program’s long-term sustainability.

Contact(s):

Rukeia Draw-Hood, Prairie View A&M University

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Vermont

Grant Name:

Vermont Youth PROSPER; A Sustainable Community Project

Grant Description:

The University of Vermont Sustainable Community Project addresses the opioid epidemic by strengthening families and reducing youth risk behaviors, including substance use. Project staff will accomplish this goal through the implementation of PROSPER, an evidence-based community engagement model which stands for PROmoting School Community University Partnerships to Encourage Resilience. As its name implies, PROSPER is a collaboration between the Cooperative Extension System at the land grant university, the public school system, and local communities. University of Vermont will work with Newport School and St. Johnsbury School, two Vermont Schools Districts, and local community teams to implement evidence-based family and school programs designed to reduce youth problem behaviors (e.g., substance use, violence, and other conduct problems) by strengthening families and building youth resiliency skills such as problem-solving, decision-making, and workforce readiness skills. These programs will target Grades 6–7. According to the 2017 Vermont Youth Risk Behavior Survey, conducted by the Vermont Department of Health, middle school youth are engaged in a range of risky behaviors, including drinking, vaping, and suicidal ideation. Peer disapproval of marijuana use has dropped. In addition, "the prevalence of drug use among rural-dwelling youth now equals or has surpassed that of urban youth. Several recent studies have observed an increased likelihood of use of alcohol, smokeless tobacco, and cigarettes among rural youth compared to urban youth. There is also evidence that rural youth are more likely to use drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines, and inhalants than are urban youth, although the literature is somewhat inconsistent" (Rhew et al., 2011). According to a Vermont Department of Health (2019) data brief on middle school resilience, "Overall, youth in grades 6-8 who have supportive family, school and community relationships are less likely to: use substances, experience bullying, have serious thoughts about or make a plan on killing themselves, or skip school because they felt unsafe on their way to or at school than students who do not report having these relationships". The middle school years are the target of the PROSPER model for this very reason and because what University of Vermont Extension and collaborators experience in current programs reflects this as well. The more engaged and connected youth are in quality positive youth development programs, the more likely they are to thrive (4-H Thriving Model of PYD, n.d.). An evaluation conducted by Iowa State University found that among PROSPER communities youth showed lower rates of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and methamphetamine use; schools reported fewer conduct problems; and parents showed an increase in positive feelings toward their children. Working together, University of Vermont and the two community sites will join the fight against opioid and drug misuse by bringing evidence-based programs to bear on the challenges facing Vermont youth while expanding opportunities for youth to engage in meaningful activities.

Contact(s):

Sarah Kleinman, University of Vermont

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Virginia

Grant Name:

The Joint Virginia Tech and Virginia State University Sustainable Community Project (Helping Youth PROSPER and Avoid Opioid Misuse in Virginia)

Grant Description:

The PROmoting School-community-university Partnerships to Enhance Resilience Model will be implemented in four Virginia communities. This community engagement system uses evidence-based programs with middle schoolers (ages 11–13) and their families. The project will offer the Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10–14 and life skills training with sixth and seventh graders and their families. Nearly 350 parents and their sixth graders will receive family programs in eight cohorts in Years 2–5. A total of 1,600 seventh graders will receive the school program in Years 3–5. Expected short-term results include increased skills in planning, decision-making, problem-solving, and information seeking among youth. Anticipated long-term results include decreases in school dropouts, risky behaviors, and substance use and increases in youth school engagement, workforce readiness, and family and youth protective factors.

Contact(s):

Crystal Tyler-Mackey, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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Washington

Grant Name:

Adapting Strengthening Families (SFP 10-14) for Legalized Marijuana Context

Grant Description:

Strengthening Families for Preventing Marijuana Use is a comprehensive approach to family marijuana misuse prevention promoting (a) accurate parent and youth perceptions of marijuana use prevalence, consequences, and acceptability, which are necessary when making healthy decisions and not using marijuana; (b) positive youth development outcomes; and (c) family support and communication skills including on the topic of legalized retail marijuana. The program has two integrated components with a goal to improve the quality and quantity of comprehensive community-based programs, supported by Washington State University Extension, for youth and families at risk for marijuana misuse. First, a universally available, evidence-based, family-focused intervention, Strengthening Families Program 10–14 (SFP), emphasizes positive youth development (i.e., 6 C’s), family cohesion, parenting skills, effective communication, and appropriate youth monitoring. SFP, which includes an evidence-based curriculum adapted for Latinx families, Familias Fuertes, is recognized as an exemplary program by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the US Department of Education; a model program by the Center for Substance Use Prevention and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association; and a program of distinction by National 4-H Headquarters & Cooperative State Research, Education, & Extension Service. Cost-benefit analyses of SFP find that for every dollar invested in the program, tax payers and society reap $3.89 worth of benefits in reduced costs associated with future substance use and related outcomes. Washington State SFP 10–14 and the adapted Familias Fuertes evaluations spanning pre- and post-retail-marijuana legalization find significant improvements in intervention-targeted outcomes associated with youth substance use including caregivers’ rules about substance use, family harmony, caregiver supervision and enforcement of family rules, and open communication.

Contact(s):

Elizabeth Weybright, Washington State University

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Wisconsin

Grant Name:

Wisconsin Sustainable Communities: The Growing Connections Program

Grant Description:

The Growing Connections Program will expose young people in Milwaukee to multiple pathways beyond high school while at the same time developing the integrated identity, competencies, and agency that will support their pursuit of postsecondary goals. During the summer months, youth participants engage in an intensive developmental experience at the program’s hub, the Connections Garden at Kohl Farm. They will then apply their skills and leverage their new relationships in two communities, each centered in grassroots organizations. Through their engagement in and commitment to the program, young people will not only learn how to work in a team to grow food and develop a cultural and arts education space in a physically and emotionally safe place, but they will also interact with positive mentors from a variety of career paths and thereby increase their capacity to develop positive relationships and deepen their understanding of postsecondary pathways and opportunities. Through weekly goal-setting and reflection activities, youth will identify their strengths, assets, and growth areas they seek to develop that will better position them to pursue postsecondary goals. Youth will develop the competencies (communication, self-regulation, belief in self, etc.) that foster positive development through opportunities for leadership roles, working as part of a team, and seasonal employment. Youth participants will remain engaged in the program during the school year as well, focused in their two home neighborhoods with a goal of deepening their understanding of their role as an actor in their community. By applying what they learn in the garden educational space to their individual, home, and community life and support network, project staff will also add a youth leadership and skill-to-capacity curriculum to the UW-Extension method of community vitality and placemaking.

Contact(s):

Matthew Calvert, University of Wisconsin

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Wisconsin/North Carolina

Grant Name:

Nia: Pathways and Purpose for the Future

Grant Description:

This project aims to eliminate the gap in post-high-school pathways exploration for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color youth. The program design prioritizes mentored learning that guides youth through developmentally appropriate decision processes and goal-oriented activity and access to critical information to help assist them in reaching their goals. This program intended for youth ages 13–18 will build social awareness as youth interact with individuals who represent pathways they are exploring and learn about their experiences. Youth will visit campuses and work settings, participate in project-based and experiential learning opportunities related to specific career pathways including agriculture, science, technology, engineering, math, and social sciences. Youth will be involved in coconstructing program activities around the topic areas of identity development, social-emotional learning, and pathways exploration. This project will aim to help youth develop the ability to critically evaluate their personal interests, skills, goals, resources, opportunities, and challenges in the context of different post-high-school pathways.

Contact(s):

Joe Maldonado, University of Wisconsin

Shannon Wiley, North Carolina A&T University