Youth Engagement & Action for Health
The Youth Engagement & Action for Health (YEAH!) manual and
supplementary trainings were developed to train leaders of youth
groups to engage youth and adults to plan and implement projects
designed to create neighborhoods where it is easier for people to
be healthy. Engaging neighborhood youth and adults creates a
strong community of people who become empowered to work for changes
that support a healthier lifestyle. Youth are trained to
conduct neighborhood assessments, select a meaningful project, and
advocate for change with local policy and decision makers. By
participating in these projects, youth identify and work toward a
goal, become empowered to create positive change, gain valuable
leadership experience, and build a foundation for life-long
Who can lead a YEAH! project?
- Coordinators/directors of youth activities within community
- Managers of local community and teen centers
- Coordinators of school or after-school programs
- City and community youth advisory commission/committee/council
- Youth leaders in religious organizations
- Graduate students
- Other adults who are interested in working with youth to
improve the quality of life in their neighborhood
What does YEAH! teach our community?
- Why youth engagement is important in your community
- How to conduct community assessments to identify strengths and
weaknesses in local food and physical activity environments
- How to advocate for changes that promote a healthier
What's in it for youth?
While participating in a YEAH! project, youth identify
and work toward a goal and gain valuable leadership
experience. Youth participants learn how their neighborhood
environment impacts health and discover their voice in community
advocacy. Participation in YEAH! can qualify as community
service credit or as a senior project. Participants also may
receive a thank you letter from the San Diego County Childhood
Obesity Initiative acknowledging their experience and service.
How can you get involved?
YEAH! trainings are scheduled intermittently throughout
the year and are free to attend. For more information, please
contact Melanie Cohn, Manager at 858.609.7963 or e-mail.
You can also visit us on Facebook to learn more.
Evaluation of Youth Engagement and Action for Health
In January 2011, Active Living Research and the Robert
Wood Johnson Foundation funded a two-year evaluation of YEAH! known
as e-YEAH! e-YEAH! uses a quasi-experimental design to
evaluate the impact of YEAH! participation on youth, adult leaders,
and decision makers. Data are collected through written baseline
and post-surveys of youth, on-line surveys of adult mentors, and
interviews with decision-makers who are the focus of advocacy
efforts. Outcome variables include measures of policy and
environmental change, youth empowerment, self-efficacy, and
readiness to act as advocates. Evaluation findings will describe
changes in youth participants, characteristics of successful
advocacy groups, guide improvements to the YEAH! program, and
provide insight into the potential for youth advocacy to influence
community environmental/policy change.
We are actively recruiting groups using the YEAH! program, and
working with youth 11-18 years old. Modest incentives are
available for participating in the study. For more
information about the evaluation study, please contact Leslie
or Chris Edwards, email@example.com.
This is a project of the San Diego County Childhood Obesity
Initiative and its community partners, including County of San
Diego Health and Human Services Agency, California Endowment's
Healthy Eating, Active Living, the City of La Mesa and