Youth Action Research for Prevention: YARP
The Youth Action Research for Prevention (YARP) project tested youth action research as a means of preventing substance use and abuse by youth. It was conducted with and by high school youth in Hartford, against a matched comparison group in Massachusetts, facilitated by the Institute for Community Research (ICR). This three-year project formally evaluates and documents this approach for national dissemination. Three cohorts of youth were recruited and trained in Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) methods – group building, identity sharing, problem selection, qualitative and survey methods, data collection, analysis, community dissemination and transformation of results to action. The primary focus was on the reasons for youth hustling of pirated CDs and other goods, as well as some drugs. Youth collected data in the first year, and subsequent groups transformed the data into advocacy for state funded youth employment programs and a job bank. The evaluation shows that the program increased school attachment and reduced reported marijuana use.