This paper describes a unique pilot program that I had the privilege of designing, implementing, evaluating and institutionalizing. The original project goal was to engage diverse, low-income young people (ages 12–18) throughout California, in youth-led participatory action research (Y-PAR) projects. The purpose was to insert an authentic youth voice and sound community development practices, into the State's efforts to create a healthier, nutritious and more active California. Youth took the lead, with the guidance and support of an adult ally, within each site, to identify research and address a key issue involving nutrition, physical activity and/or obesity prevention.
The project succeeded in engaging teens from a variety of settings (rural, urban, etc.) to become champions for a healthier place to live, go to school, work and play. The program has now grown from a small demonstration project to one of the more dynamic initiatives at the California Department of Public Health, Network for a Healthy California.
The original demonstration intervention, supported by the Network for a Healthy California, California Department of Public Health, (funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education Funds) took place over the 2006–2007 federal fiscal year in seven demonstration sites (both school and community settings), involving over 75 youth (about 10 youth leaders per site), ages 12–18. This paper will explain the steps that it took to institutionalize this work into the State system and the on-going effort to expand its reach. I will also describe some of the challenges faced in creating space for this youth-led, community-based approach, inside of a bureaucratic, federally funded, governmental organization. I have used a chronological format for this paper, which will give the reader a sequential overview of this project. Included in supplemental documents is a public report highlighting the original pilot sites case studies.
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|Commitee:||Campbell, David, Erbstein, Nancy|
|School:||University of California, Davis|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 50/06M, Masters Abstracts International|
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