An evaluation of a positive youth development program for adolescents with chronic illness.
PURPOSE: Youth with chronic illness often struggle transitioning to adulthood and adult medical care. This article examines the outcomes of a group mentoring program called The Adolescent Leadership Council (TALC) that brings together high school participants and college mentors, all with chronic illness. TALC uses a positive youth development (PYD) approach, emphasizing strong relationships between youth and adults in an environment where youth can learn important life skills and take a leadership role. METHODS: A pre-/postprogram participant survey was conducted for high school participants using a loneliness scale and a transition readiness survey. An alumni survey was conducted with all high school and college mentor graduates to assess educational-, vocational-, and health care-related outcomes. RESULTS: Program records review and the alumni survey indicated that TALC was consistent with the PYD program model. Twenty high school students participated in the pre-/postprogram outcomes evaluation, which demonstrated a decrease in loneliness from 46 to 38.5 (p < .001) and an increase in health care self-advocacy from 3.8 to 4.2 (p < .001). Thirty-four alumni participated in the alumni survey. All high school and college mentor alumni had graduated from high school and college, respectively, and all were either currently in school or working. The majority of alumni were seeing adult providers for medical care. CONCLUSIONS: The TALC program applies the principles of PYD to support positive educational, vocational, and health care outcomes for youth with chronic illness. Program development using the PYD perspective is an important new approach for supporting adult development of youth with chronic illness.
Maslow, G; Adams, C; Willis, M; Neukirch, J; Herts, K; Froehlich, W; Calleson, D; Rickerby, M
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