The Youth Empowered for Success Program: A Multi-faceted Approach to Youth Leadership Development and School Culture Change in Southern Arizona


  • Pam Parrish Community Partnership of Southern Arizona
  • Mari Wilhelm University of Arizona
  • Yvette Florez-Urcadez University of Arizona
  • Daniel A. Jeffrey University of Arizona
  • James Roebuck University of Arizona
  • Bill B. Burnett Community Partnership of Southern Arizona



Arizona’s first Teen Institute (TI) program, Youth Empowered for Success, began in July 2004. It is the first TI-based project to focus on nurturing resilience via Health Realization (Pransky, 2007). The YES program’s design to “create conditions for success” in high schools is discussed. YES utilizes a strengths-based, multi-faceted approach of (1) teaching participants how to access their innate resilience and common sense (Health Realization), (2) training them in community development for school culture change and (3) helping them develop meaningful partnerships with adults. YES also expands upon the TI model by providing staff support for community development throughout the academic year. It is hypothesized that these efforts ultimately will increase overall well-being and reduce the incidence of alcohol, tobacco and other drug use (ATOD) as well as depression and suicide among youth.






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