Knowing what works

The idea of Kidz Making Good, its aims approach are based on  and views of a small initial core group formed from participants in two action workshops with school students and Scouts. 

  • Eskdale School
  • Whitby Eskmouth Scouts
  • Whitby Area Sheds
  • with support from national Volunteer It Yourself (VIY) who were signposted by UK Men’s Shed Association
  • Experience of schools with the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme was also valuable

Now added to the core team are Sleights Primary School and …………… names being confirmed

We consulted recently the South Yorkshire branch of the National Association of Boys and Girls Clubs (there appears not to be a branch in North Yorkshire) who were encouraging of any children and youth activities being started against the general backdrop of decline in their provision, particularly those in the streams of being council run or directly funded. Growth, we were told, was in the voluntary sector (including churches). It was unclear who (if anybody) maintains statistics on youth activities and clubs. There seem to be no quality metrics.

What constitutes a good activity or club? There is a substantial report on detailed research on the subject published by the National Academy of Sciences, USA. It is on-line and is downloadable in the link below.

Some salient sections are outlined (edited) in following sections on this page.

Certain features of the settings that adolescents’ experience help facilitate positive development. Research covering family, schools, and the community suggests daily settings promote positive development assets if they provide:

Structure and limits to recognize adolescents’ increasing social maturity and expertise

•  Safety and security  – physical and psychological

Supportive relationships

Belonging

Positive morals, values and social norms

Worthwhile things that make a real difference

Involvement in the organisation

Skill building, including learning how to form close, lasting peer relationships that reinforce healthy behaviours

Strong links between families, schools, and broader community resources

The report highlights the importance of Community Programs that have diversity in themselves but also relate to other local work.

Community programs can provide opportunities for youth to acquire personal and social assets and experience features of positive developmental settings. These programs can incorporate opportunities:-

  • for physical, cognitive, and social/emotional development
  • that address issues of ethnic identity and inter-group relationships
  • for community involvement and service
  • for interaction with caring adults and a diversity of peers

There is great diversity in the design, approach, and focus of community programs for youth. Priorities vary and therefore may emphasize different program features. Mentoring programs, for example, may focus on creating supportive relationships and on developing a sense of belonging and inclusion. Sports activity programs may place greater priority on  team building and physical skill building. No one program can  serve all young people or incorporate all of the features of positive developmental settings. Diverse opportunities are more likely to support broad adolescent development and outcomes for a greater number of youth. As noted in Chapter 4, communities that are rich in opportunities reduce adolescent risk and increase positive development for a greater number of young people. This further supports the conclusion that communities need to offer multiple opportunities to experience positive developmental settings.

Community-wide approaches to developing and implementing community programs for youth are more likely to meet the needs of the diverse population of adolescents. Programs for youth offered by more than one organization (schools, community organisations, or  both) focusing on different areas of interest and through different kinds of curricula provide the greatest opportunity for young people to acquire personal and social assets.

Kidz Making Good has many of the features highlighted above in the excerpts  from the report, in terms of the settings that promote positive development assets and the community-wide approach needed. We already have schools, Scouts and Sheds involved in leading the way, and there is opportunity for societies, clubs, administrations, churches, businesses and individuals to be involved with resourcing the workshops. All are needed.

The funding programme for the project is #iwill. It has a target to encourage children and young people to engage in social action. Kidz Making Good is engaging young people to do, think, reach out  and be challenged in preparation for taking community roles in the future. There is a diagram below that expresses the #iwill strategy. It suits us and our networked approach.

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