Promoting Community Service in Youth

AfterSchoolArticleCongratulations to John Stroup and colleagues on a publication that has come out of their work on the positive youth development movement PeaceJam.  One article just last week in the Afterschool Matters Journal. Read the article Participation as a Relational Process: Unpacking Involvement in Social Action and Community Service.

John would like to build a club network around PeaceJam throughout Burlington and Winooski.  Call John if the project outlined below is of any interest to you.

Phone: 802-651-5964  | Email: jstroup@champlain.edu

Here is a note from John outlining the work he and others are trying to do here in Vermont:

I (and others at Winooski High and the Winooski Teen Center) have begun to think about a meaningful youth club network that connected the kids in Winooski with the young people of Burlington around social, political, and economic change issues.  Our avenue into this work (for which we received a small Partnership for Change grant) was to build a PeaceJam club network. For the last few years, I’ve been working with a colleague studying the impact and effect of a particular after-school program for young people called PeaceJam!  (Visit the website.)

PeaceJam attempts to inspire “A Billion Simple Acts of Peace” by organizing youth to study the lives of Nobel Peace laureates, identify a pressing community issue, and plan and implement a social action project. The culminating activity is a weekend spent presenting projects and working with a Nobel Peace laureate. We did some quantitative surveys at regional events (n=781), interpretive interviews (n=30), and observations at three area programs to access youths’ perceptions.  In our studies, youth report high levels of autonomy, belongingness and competence and relate this support with participation. They describe opportunities for connecting interests with action, and developing a sense of agency and new patterns of civic behavior. We explored how experiences vary across programs, and demonstrate how adult mentors can promote participation in service and prosocial activity.

We really like this program, we can show you demonstrable results, and there is only one Winooski chapter that needs our support.  In the future, we want to build Burlington chapters that can scale up projects with both youth at King Street and Winooski Teen Center.  Help us find interested students to support the growth of these programs during the fall and spring semester.  Ongoing, this remains another opportunity for the Center for Service and Civic Engagement, and EHS, and Champlain College generally to provide opportunities for Champlain College students.

Perhaps, this project may be of some interest to you?  Let me know.

-John Stroup

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