Exploring African American Male Youth’s Perceptions of Community Involvement Through 4-H Programs
Keywords:African American males, Black youth, community involvement, civic participation, extracurricular activities
Civic engagement research suggests that youths’ involvement in their communities results in a number of positive personal and social attributes. However, among urban populations, there is still a dearth of research on their involvement and the impact of civic participation on their development. More importantly within these populations, there is limited understanding of how Black male youth engage within civic participatory spaces. Increasing but limited research on young Black male youth usually focuses on identity, participation in programs, and socioeconomic levels. Further understanding is needed as to the factors which influence and impact Black male youths’ interests and actual participation in community and extracurricular activities. This paper explores data from urban African American high school male youth that include their perceptions and knowledge and attitudes toward being involved in their community through 4-H youth programs. The authors find that opportunities to learn a new skill and building professional portfolios assist these young Black males in their perception of being effective in their communities and making a difference for themselves.
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