A Positive Youth Development Program
Adelante was a community-based, multi-level intervention to address the co-occurrence of substance abuse, violence and sexual risk among Latino youth in Langley Park. The overarching goal of Adelante was to build community, family and individual assets as a mechanism for preventing youth risk behavior. To do this, Adelante combined a set of community-wide program components that are available to youth and families in Langley Park, and a more targeted set of program components for high-risk Latino high school and middle school students and their families.
Community Wide Program Components
These activities were open to community members and high-risk youth program participants. Most activities – even recreational ones – included prevention and education messages concerned with substance abuse, violence and sexual risk.
Recreation: Because recreational activities incorporate a wide variety of youth and build supportive relationships, one set of program activities involved year-round recreation that included soccer, basketball, dance, art, kickboxing, yoga, fitness, and other activities that took place at various locations, including schools, community facilities, and parks.
Engagement Activities: A series of activities sought to foster a sense of pride, belonging and engagement with their community among youth, young adults and parents in Langley Park. Engagement activities included: creation of the Adelante brand, art/mural projects, video/photography/media projects, youth journalism, cultural excursions, community service, and social media participation. Bi-annual Wellness Fairs and Awareness Day events were held and open to all community members.
Capacity Building: To increase Adelante’s sustainability, young Latinos and their parents were engaged and trained in the areas of leadership and advocacy, empowering both groups to use their voice to advocate for issues that are important to them. Health literacy training was offered to community members as well.
Youth Leadership and Advocacy Program: Youth Leaders assisted with cultural activities and prevention/engagement sessions; developed and maintained Adelante’s social media, website and internet presence; participated in media, community service, youth blogging, and advocacy projects; and refered students to services provided through Adelante or at the MMYC Drop-in Center. Youth Leaders also provided social support, served as positive role models, and created a positive social network for vulnerable immigrant youth.
Parents As Leaders Program: The Adelante workshops used a modified Parents-as-Leaders curriculum (adapted for Latino populations by the ASPIRA Foundation), including knowledge/skill-building for parents related to school, communication, and youth risk behavior.
Health Literacy Training: A series of health literacy training sessions were offered for youth and parents in the community to increase the capacity of individuals to connect to health resources and information on the internet.
Supportive Services: The Drop-in Center (at the Maryland Multicultural Youth Centers) provided an array of services and supports for youth and families, and was the “home base” for several Adelante program activities. Services provided at the Drop-in Center included: GED programs, college and other educational information sessions, temporary housing assistance, short-term family and individual counseling and case management services, English classes for parents/adults, and referrals to services. In-school and after-school academic support and tutoring was offered at the middle and high school levels for Langley Park youth. Finally, job training, career readiness, and information about accessing higher education was offered to youth and families in conjunction with Prince George’s County Community College and other partners.
High-Risk Youth Cohort components
In addition to the community-wide program components, the Adelante program provided a set of targeted supports for up to 150 high-risk Latino youth and their families. High-risk youth program components included:
Multi-Family Group Dinners: Case managers conducted outreach to the families of high-risk youth and selected families to participate in an intensive 10-week workshop of weekly family dinners aimed at improving family connection, cohesion, and conflict resolution by building family traditions, rituals, and memories and working toward healthy communication practices. The case managers also facilitated referrals to other social services to address other family stressors.
Individual Case Management: This component provided a mentoring/supportive adult relationship for selected high-risk Latino youth and their families. The MMYC Drop-in Center had full-time Case Managers with social work and youth training who acted as mentors, supporters and case managers. Case managers “troubleshooted” the provision of support to high-risk youth, and helped the youth pursue positive opportunities (helping them apply, make contacts, learn necessary skills). Case managers also facilitated involvement of youth in other Adelante activities to increase youth participation in the community and provide a source of recognition and social support.
To learn more about Adelante’s programs and activities, visit www.adelantelp.org.