Best Practice

Getting to ‘Y’: Youth Bring Meaning to their Youth Risk Behavior Survey

State/Jurisdiction: Vermont
Setting: Community School
Population: Adolescents & Young Adults
Topic Area: Family & Youth Engagement
NPMs: NPM 10: Adolescent Well-Visit

Getting to ‘Y’: Youth Bring Meaning to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (GTY) is a positive youth development initiative that empowers youth to identify what matters to them in their own health data, engage peers and adults in dialogue, and take action to improve youth health and wellness. Getting To Y provides structured opportunities for middle and high school aged youth to use local Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey data to increase engagement and agency, and to directly address youth health and risk factors that youth identify as most important. GTY creates forums for connections between youth, family, school and community, and links youth with state and local health resources. This strengths-based participatory research initiative involves the following components: 1) Core team of youth leaders and adult partners attend a peer-led project orientation and training (led by UP for Learning staff in partnership with youth who have participated in GTY in prior years). 2) Core teams plan and lead a Data Analysis Retreat using local YRBS data with a larger, representative group of peers. They map existing assets, agree on top strengths and concerns in their data, explore root causes, and begin to brainstorm possible solutions. 3) Core teams plan and lead Community Dialogue Events in their own communities to share their work and engage in dialogue about assets, root causes and solution ideas. 4) Core teams finalize and implement a plan of action and mobilize school and community resources. 5) Teams celebrate successes and identify lessons learned. GTY not only addresses specific youth-identified needs in their own health and wellness, but also serves to improve youth connection with their community, health literacy, protective factors, and self-efficacy.

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