It’s All About Healthy Relationships

This is another in a series of posts highlighting resources that may be somewhat deeply buried on the ACT for Youth website!

Helping Young People Build Relationship Skills

The ACT for Youth website links to MANY resources for educators.

Helping Youth Build Relationship Skills
Newly updated, this part of Preparing Youth for Adulthood connects you with program activities and curricula focused on healthy relationship education, as well as resources for young people.

SEL Toolkit: Relationship Skills
In this section of the SEL Toolkit, we link to strategies and resources that will help youth work professionals teach relationship skills.

Teen Dating Violence
Here we offer resources focused on violence prevention and consent for educators, parents, and youth.

Promoting Healthy Relationship Skills
What can we do to help youth repair and strengthen the qualities of healthy relationships? Mary Maley took on this question in her June 2020 webinar for CAPP, PREP, and SRAE providers.

The Role of Romantic Relationships

Adolescent Romantic Relationships
Why are romantic relationships in adolescence developmentally important? We take a look at that question here.

Enjoy browsing!

~ Karen

What’s on the Website?

With over 150 pages and 235 catalogued publications and presentations, the ACT for Youth website has a wealth of resources—but they’re not always super obvious! This post is the start of a series to highlight ACT for Youth resources you might be interested in that may fall outside of the CAPP, PREP, and SRAE sections.

Today I’ll highlight two free training manuals that you’ll find in the Youth Work Professionals section.

Positive Youth Development 101 Manual

The PYD 101 training manual is ACT for Youth’s most popular resource. Use this free curriculum to provide an orientation to the PYD approach to new youth workers, supervisors, funders, and community volunteers.

Jutta updated the training just before her retirement, adding new resources and activities as well as sections on developmental relationships, inclusive program environments, and deconstructing biases.

The manual includes the facilitator script, slides, activities, and handouts – all freely available on the ACT for Youth website!

Inclusive Program Environments

Another training curriculum I’d like to feature is Creating Inclusive Program Environments for Youth with Different Abilities.

This training aims to provide youth work professionals with information, practices, and activities that will help them promote inclusion and engagement for all young people – particularly those with learning disabilities, ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, and/or trauma.

Again, the full curriculum, slides, handouts, and activities are easy to access on the ACT for Youth website. I hope you’ll explore it all!

These manuals are available to everyone in the field of youth work. If there is someone else in your organization who might benefit from them, please share.

Stay tuned for future “What’s on the Website” posts, and if you’re looking for something in particular on the site you can always contact me at ks548@cornell.edu.

~ Karen

What Did You and Your Colleagues Have to Say about the 2021 BWIAH Provider Meeting?

Thank you to all who completed evaluations for the 2021 BWIAH Provider Meeting! Here’s a snapshot of what CAPP, PREP, and SRAE folks thought about how it went overall, with some ACT for Youth perspective salted in here and there.

What are the best months for your group to attend the BWIAH provider meeting? (Check all that apply).

CAPP, PREP, and SRAE respondents indicated that the best months are May and July, closely followed by August.

  • This result was a bit different from the other providers that participate in the event. For everyone else, May has little competition.
  • In comments, a couple of people pointed out that it is difficult to have the event during the school year. Nevertheless, May continues to be the clear winner for the Provider Meeting. The ACT for Youth training team has taken note of the popularity of the summer months for professional development and may be able to shift some trainings to the summer next year.

Do you prefer a free virtual or an in-person meeting with a registration fee?

Interestingly, 40% of CAPP/PREP/SRAE respondents were neutral on this question, while 36% prefer a free virtual event and 25% prefer to gather in person. In comments, people were certainly torn, missing seeing everyone but appreciating the flexibility of the virtual event.

Overall organization and communication

While the Provider Meeting got high marks overall for its accessibility, clear instructions, advance notice, and registration, there were suggestions for improvements in structure and communication:

  • Schedule: Having the meeting spread out over 4 days was not entirely popular. Some folks also commented that an hour between sessions was too long. Given the comments, people seemed to want a more concentrated event (fewer days, maybe more sessions per day, with less time between sessions.)
  • Emails: There were a LOT! Many people felt they got too many emails. For some, emails went into junk folders. Lesson learned: have fewer reminder emails from the event service and be sure that a few key instructions come from ACT for Youth.

CAPP/PREP/SRAE provider group meeting with DOH program advisers

While 66% of participants found this meeting valuable, there were some suggestions for next time. Stating the purpose of the meeting up front would have been helpful. Some of you would have liked to hear more of an update from DOH on what is happening around the state, and some wanted more of a focus on program issues. In general the evaluations showed that people do want more contact with their DOH program advisers.

Overall Content

There were lots of nice comments about the content and presenters overall, such as “I loved the sessions that I attended and thought that the presenters were excellent.” Many people asked about recordings, and you can find everything that was recorded, along with slides, on the 2021 BWIAH Provider Meeting web page.

Of course, we can always improve!

  • Lack of content warnings was problematic in a number of the presentations. Considering our theme was trauma, that was not very trauma-informed!
  • A couple of commenters pointed out that we may have gone in too heavily on the theme—they would have appreciated a wider variety of topics.

Looking Ahead

Thank you again to everyone who completed the survey! Don’t see your opinion represented here? You can leave it in the comments—and remember to fill out the evaluation next year. We really do listen! Planning for next year is underway and we are using your feedback as a guide.

Karen Schantz

~ Karen

Join Us to Celebrate Jutta!

We still can’t believe we’re saying this, but please join us (via Zoom) on Wednesday, June 23, 12:00-12:30, to say farewell to Jutta!

Share a story! Share a memory! Wish her well as she embarks on her next adventure! Look for the Zoom link in your email.

Jutta has connected us all across New York State, bringing clarity, curiosity, humor, and deep knowledge to all she does. We don’t want to say goodbye but we do want to celebrate her amazing career and thank her for all she has shared with us.

We hope to see you Wednesday! You can also leave a comment on this post.

Best,

The ACT for Youth Team

Provider Spotlight: Video Productions for Youth, by Youth

The CAPP Team from Northwell Health LIJ/CCMC is proud to present our latest student-led videos. To reduce barriers to sexual health services, our project is lucky to partner with Connected Health Solutions to support students in creating their own PSA-style video for our school-based health centers. The project began in February 2020 and was cut short with school closures in March 2020. Once it was clear that NYC schools would mostly operate virtually, we made adjustments to the script and filming process to be virtual and safe for student actors and crew.

EC Video

For the film on Emergency Contraception (EC), our male students expressed their curiosity about EC and how it is used. It was important to our group to encourage male partners to take an active role in supporting their partners’ birth control choices – even if not completely informed, as in our video! And using humor is always a great way to get a message across!

Emergency Contraception video

Online Safety Video

For our longer middle school film, each student was filmed separately and cut together to look like one continuous screen capture. This was a new process not only for our students, but for our team and the director! The students were explicit about their desire to have a film that didn’t have a happy ending – they felt it would be inauthentic and cheesy. After the film “premiered” at the school assembly, our site educator, Anne van der Veer, played the video for every advisory class and facilitated a group discussion about being safe online. It prompted conversations about online learning, social media, sexting, and safety. Anne found that each grade took away a different lesson based on their age and maturity level – so we were happy to see the film was suitable for different ages.

I See You video

More Resources

We are so proud of our students’ contributions and are grateful for the support we received from the schools to complete this project. Please check out our library of videos on YouTube along with the two main videos above! If you are interested in the facilitation guide for “I See You,” please email Amanda Ferrandino (aferrandin@northwell.edu).

~ Amanda Ferrandino

Tips for Serving Healthy Food and Beverages

I want to call your attention to our recently revised Guidelines for Healthy Food and Beverages for Adolescent Health Programs, which ACT for Youth published for youth-serving providers funded by the New York State Department of Health.

Recipes, nutrition facts, and tips

Although over the past year we have not been able to gather for in-person events, hopefully that tide is changing! Soon we will once again be able to share meals and provide refreshments to program participants – making it a good time to review these guidelines and remind ourselves about the importance of nutrition, which is so integral to adolescent health. 

By making simple changes to the food and drinks we serve at programs, groups, and community events, we can impact young people’s health in positive and powerful ways. As a provider of youth services, you are in an ideal position to help young people improve their health by offering healthy food choices, raising awareness about nutrition, and engaging participants in menu planning and food preparation activities. This publication provides you with easy and practical ideas on how to accomplish these tasks, including factual information, recipes, money-saving tips, and implementation strategies. In the process, your program may help to support healthy eating habits and life skills that not only ensure proper growth during a critical development stage but will continue into adulthood.

We hope that by following these Guidelines, you can make a difference in the lives of our youth and in the generations to come.

Jane Powers

~ Jane Powers

Welcome Back to In-Person Programming: A Guide to Safe Return

As we look to reopen the doors to schools, community centers, and youth spaces to welcome youth back to in-person programming, we put a few resources together to help you plan and prepare for this experience. We recognize that every provider’s in-person programming space may look different and that ultimately you’ll be asked to follow the safety guidelines and protocols of your individual hosts. Still, we wanted to provide resources, helpful tips, and suggestions to help you remain as safe as possible and stay committed to delivering a quality program. 

As always you can start with our ACT site:

In-Person Implementation of EBPs during COVID-19

Please note that we looked to provide the most recent and up to date information, acknowledging that new safety guidelines could be added in the very near future. Where possible on the web resources below, please look for the date posted to ensure you’re flowing the most current information possible. 

CDC: How to Protect Yourself and Others

CDC: Schools and Child Care Programs: Plan, Prepare, and Respond

NYC Health: COVID-19: Guidance for Businesses and Schools

NYC Health: Checklist for In-Person Instruction

Marisol De Leon

~ Marisol

ACT in Transition

I’m writing to let you know about transitions that will be happening during this year.  Jutta Dotterweich, our long-term Director of Training and TA, will be retiring in June 2021.  Jutta has been with ACT for Youth since it began in July of 2000 and has built our training program.  She has been an extraordinary leader of our training/TA efforts – whose vast knowledge of positive youth development, and vision for how best to build capacity to promote adolescent health and prevent risky behaviors, has been appreciated by generations of youth workers, educators and colleagues across NYS and beyond.  To say she will be missed is an understatement!

As we move forward during this transition period, some of Jutta’s responsibilities will be passed on to Mary Maley. An experienced trainer with expertise in evidence-based programming, Mary has been with ACT for Youth since 2011, most recently leading our CDC-funded research. Mary will provide research support for developing training and web resources, cover Jutta’s caseload of provider assignments and take on additional training responsibilities as needed. She will join Heather, Michele and Marisol on the training/TA team.

We will miss Jutta but rest assured you  will continue to receive our expertise and support in meeting your goals and needs.

Jane Powers

~ Jane Powers, Director

Moving to Virtual Implementation of EBPs?

In recent months we have talked a lot about virtual implementation of evidence-based programs. Re-opening plans for schools and community-based youth organizations have been varied and challenging. Conditions have changed frequently and at times abruptly.

To address these complexities, and with fidelity and quality delivery of EBPs in mind, we have developed implementation strategies and tools that will help you plan and prepare for a successful virtual implementation.

Steps to consider

  1. Investigate what the implementation conditions are at the implementation site – use the preparation checklist to plan and prepare for virtual or hybrid implementation.
  1. Use the EBP templates to develop your virtual presentation. These templates are newly updated. Find the templates for each synchronous module, and information about how to access and use the asynchronous templates, here:

BPBR Virtual Implementation

MPC Virtual Implementation

  1. Complete the virtual implementation plan to document how you modify the program and adapt to specific site conditions. You may have to do a different plan for each site.
  1. Send the virtual implementation plan to your ACT TA provider for review and discussion.

  1. Once approved, you can start implementing and refer to the virtual implementation plan when you enter cycle data into the ORS.

Virtual presentations are quite different from in-person presentations.

In our recent virtual presentations skills workshops we identified and discussed lots of potential technical and personal delivery issues. We highly recommend that presenters prepare thoroughly and practice.  Consider building in time for an extra introductory session with young people to do warm-up or team-building activities and practice the interactive features of the platform you are using. Young people may not be familiar with some of these features. Interacting and communicating via technology may take more time than you may expect. We recommend adding 2-3 extra sessions to your EBP implementation schedule.

Here are two additional tools to help you plan and prepare:

Let us know if you have any questions.

~ Jutta