How do adolescents’ engagement in youth programs and their interactions with program leaders and parents contribute to their development of self-direction? Many project-based youth programs (e.g., arts and community service-based) cite helping youth set and achieve goals as a major program objective. However, although many of these project-based youth programs succeed in cultivating these self-direction skills, little is known about how they develop and how adults support this development.. This study will examine how cultural factors, adolescent-parent interactions, and parent-leader interactions shape youth experiences in programs. Particular attention will be given to low- income and Latino youth. The study will involve 12 project-based programs (focused on art, technology, science, or leadership and service) serving low-income youth ages 13 to 19 in Chicago, central Illinois, Minneapolis, and St. Paul. Youth, parents, and program leaders will be interviewed and complete questionnaires three to four times over the course of the year, and investigators will observe program sessions, using the Youth Program Quality Assessment to evaluate the quality of youth-staff interactions.
How do adolescents’ engagement in youth programs and their interactions with program leaders and parents contribute to their development of self-direction?