Promoting Healthy Development among Adolescent Girls: A Mixed-Methods Evaluation of the HERstory Program

Emily MacFarlane, Lisa M. Chauveron, Amanda C. Thompkins


The Leadership Program’s HERstory is a school-based, universal, preventative intervention designed to promote healthy youth development among adolescent girls by increasing their connections to pro-social peers and to school and community while developing social-emotional skills that serve as protective factors. In this school-year-long program, a facilitator implements three program phases: group development activities in Community Building, self-reflective Writing Workshop exercises, and a final Creative Output project, an ethnographic theater production or literary journal developed from participants’ Writing Workshop responses. The current mixed-methods study presents early evidence of program effectiveness based on focus groups and school record data review at two NYC public schools during the 2010-2011 school year. Participants reported improvements in key areas targeted by HERstory, including peer connectedness, academic achievement, and a range of protective factors including future orientation and goal setting. Results suggest this program approach may be suitable promoting healthy adolescent development for girls.

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