The Youth Leading Change (YLC) program is grounded in the Communities that Care (CTC) prevention system framework. The nationwide Communities that Care prevention system began in the 1990s, designed to empower communities to address youth health and behavior problems.
CTC is listed as an evidence-based program on the Washington State Institute for Public Policy’s Inventory of Evidence-Based, Research-Based, and Promising Practices under the category of public health and prevention. The YLC program uses best practices for building youth skills in social-emotional learning, as defined in Preparing Youth to Thrive: Promising Practices for Social & Emotional Learning.
Safe Streets strives to create a community that cares and contributes to youth success. Together, we prevent unhealthy student behaviors including violence, substance use, school dropout and delinquency.
Safe Streets staff measures client and service data by collecting and analyzing quantitative information such as number of members, hours of service and completed youth projects. The program’s impact is measured by two quantitative measurable outcomes, improved relationships and increased social-emotional learning. This information is collected through staff evaluations of youth behavior and student surveys.
To measure whether participants had improved relationships participants are asked if they identify themselves as a positive influence on friends and whether they have a caring adult in their life. To measure the increase in social-emotional learning, we track progress using the six SEL skill areas outlined in “SEL Strengths Builder” by David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality at the Forum for Youth Investment (2016). These areas are emotion management, empathy, teamwork, responsibility, initiative and problem solving.
These outcomes are annually assessed, analyzed, and incorporated into planning to continuously strengthen program impact. YLC also participates in the Youth Program Quality Assessment (YPQA), a process of continuous improvement facilitated by School’s Out Washington and the Weikart Center that includes program quality assessment, data-driven planning, peer learning, and intensive professional development.
In addition to the quantitative measures described above, Safe Streets solicits client feedback on program quality and impact as a way to evaluate our program and inform future strategies. In response to last year’s participant survey, one student reflected that “[YLC] has allowed me to find my passion and purpose in life. Advocacy and serving the community have become things I love. I have learned to be a leader and implement that into other aspects of my life.” Another student shared that “YLC has helped me build so much confidence with myself and helped w/ coming out of my comfort zone.” This qualitative feedback helps us understand the lasting impact of YLC on our students.