Getting to social action: the Youth Empowerment Strategies (YES!) project. Academic Article uri icon


  • This article describes the social action component of the Youth Empowerment Strategies (YES!) project funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through its community-based prevention research (CBPR) initiative. YES! is designed to promote problem-solving skills, social action, and civic participation among underserved elementary and middle school youth. The after-school program focuses on identifying and building youths' capacities and strengths as a means of ultimately decreasing rates of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use and other risky behaviors. The article discusses the conceptual models of risk and intervention and factors contributing to successful social action work, including group dynamics, intragroup leadership, facilitator skills, and school-community contexts. Attention is focused on how the nature of the projects themselves played a key role in determining the likelihood of experiencing success. Implications and recommendations for other youth-focused empowerment education projects are discussed, including the effective use of Photovoice in such projects.

publication date

  • October 2008