Youth Empowerment Solutions (YES) Online Self-Paced Training and Marketing Campaign
Youth Empowerment Solutions (YES) is an evidence-based curriculum aiming to engage middle and high school youth in addressing youth violence and future firearm violence. The YES team, supported by the John Mohme Foundation, has created an accessible online self-paced training to help prospective YES leaders implement and evaluate the program. The next phase involves developing a 3-year marketing strategy to boost the reach, implementation, and effectiveness of the online training and evidence-based program.
Early adolescence (10-13 yrs) is a critical life stage where autonomy grows, and behavioral paths begin to form, but it is also a time when individuals start to face several challenges that can result in negative outcomes such as aggressive and violent behavior. Researchers have consistently found that participation in extracurricular and out-of-school programs is vital for positive youth development. Youth Empowerment Solutions (YES) is an evidence-based community change program that aims to provide middle and high-school-aged youth with opportunities for meaningful involvement in preventing and reducing youth violence while working with adults in an empowerment framework. The YES curriculum includes workshops on program planning, budgeting, implementation, and evaluation, as well as community change efforts and identity development. To enhance program adoption, the YES team provides an in-depth, in-person, 8-hour training, addressing the underlying theories and objectives of the curriculum. Despite substantial interest in implementing the YES program with over 700 curriculum downloads, the cost of the in-person training may pose financial challenges for organizations, risking less effective violence prevention, thus deviating from YES’ intended impact. Due to the generous support of the John Mohme Foundation, the YES team developed a 10-hour, reduced-cost, online self-paced training to increase accessibility and decrease barriers associated with an in-person training event. Building on this success, the YES team is developing a 3-year marketing strategy to increase the dissemination, implementation, and effectiveness of the online self-paced training. Supported by the John Mohme Foundation, marketing efforts will focus on brand awareness, enhanced content engagement, website re-design, and increased training enrollments and program implementation. The team will also carry out a targeted marketing campaign through various channels, emphasizing email and digital marketing for wide dissemination and program sustainability. Funding this initiative enables researchers to identify optimal marketing methods for evidence-based youth firearm injury prevention programs, promoting broader community access and the overarching goal of reducing youth violence and enhancing youth empowerment.