Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI
Your Life.Your Story: Latino Youth Summit & RHYME
YLYS is a week-long summer day camp to increase resilience, identity-development, and self-mastery in Latino adolescents, with the aim of reducing and/or preventing depressive symptoms and preparing youth to succeed in spite of life challenges.
The program is evidence-based, interdisciplinary, and community-based. Campers complete a resilience-building curriculum in the morning with two trained therapists. In the afternoon, they complete art and movement based activities to develop goals for the future and identify barriers and opportunities.
The program is based on a storytelling framework where each day students tell parts of their own story, which they examine and develop as they go. This framework permeates every activity from morning to evening. The daily activities are based on the following five promts: Who am I? Who do I want to be? How do I get there? What challenges will I face along the way? How do I overcome these challenges?.
Art based activities include: Storytelling, Art, Music, Yoga/Dance, Theatre, Technology. Students get to choose three of these to participate in during the afternoon.
Campers are paired with college students who serve as mentors. They play, engage, get to know each other and the other campers, and go through activities together. These mentors teach them about the importance of post-secondary education and in general serve as role models.
Each activity leader brings his/her own resources to supplement the goals of the day, but there are none created specifically for the program other than the framework.
Your Life Your Story serves Latino teens who are mostly urban, and most of whom qualify for free or reduced school lunch. However, because it is personalized to the individual, it can be administered to other groups. We tested the same program for refugee children in a program we called RHYME, which ran this year (2017).
We have had various sources of funding over the four summers we've implemented the program. Foundation funding through the Summer Youth Program Fund of the Central Indiana Community Foundation has provided consistent limited funding. IUPUI funds mentors and two of the program directors who are IUPUI Faculty.
There is a community director and an academic director that organize and supervise all aspects of the program. Another academic director is in charge of training and supervising mentors. We have professionals from the community as resilience-trainers and activity leaders, who bring their own expertise. These were trained in the framework in year 1 and have continued to serve every year. In addition to that, we bring in 5-10 mentors a year who are trained in cultural competency and mentoring.
We evaluate the YLYS program every year. Baseline and post-camp assessments determine changes in variables of interest. The most consist variable we have tested are resilience and depressive symptoms. We use valid and reliable instruments. For resilience we use the Resilience Scale and for depression the Kutcher Adolescent Depression Scale and the PHQ-4. This year we delved into the concept of resilience and assessed self-regulation and social problem solving, as these are characteristics of resilient individuals, and also skills developed through the program.
For RHYME, since it is the first year, we assessed resilience and depressive symptoms only.
Every year for the first three years resilience increased and depressive symptoms decreased. In the first year, we had funding to follow the campers through a 6-month assessment. We found no changes from post-camp assessment, suggesting improvements in resilience and depressive symptoms were maintained long-term. We have yet to analyze year 4 data for YLYS and year 1 data for RHYME, both of which were just completed this summer (2017).
In the future we would like to test this program with other special populations, such as African American youth, children of military, youth with HIV, foster youth aging out of the system, and others.
YLYS: 2014-2017 - RHYME: 2017