Building Resilience After School for Early Adolescents in Urban Poverty: Open Trial of Leaders @ Play
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Leaders @ Play is a park after-school program for urban middle school youth designed to leverage recreational activities for social emotional learning. Mental health and park staff co-facilitated sports and games to teach and practice problem solving, emotion regulation, and effective communication. Additional practice occurred during multi-family groups and summer internships as junior camp counselors. We examined feasibility and promise via an open trial (n = 3 parks, 46 youth, 100 % African American, 100 % low-income, 59 % female, M = 13.09 years old). Improvements in social skills and reductions in problem behaviors lend support to after school programs as a space for mental health promotion.
KeywordsUrban poverty Early adolescence After school Risk and resilience
Primary funding for this work was provided by a private family trust that wishes to remain anonymous). Additional support was provided by NIMH Developing Center grant P20 MH078458 (PI: M. Atkins). The authors gratefully acknowledge Aleta Meyers for her early consultation on the use of Responding In Positive and Peaceful Ways, and Marc Atkins, Eduardo Bustamante, Don Hellison, Emma Sterret, and Mamie Tisue for their dedication and contribution to this work. The authors also extend their heartfelt appreciation to park district leaders, after school program staff, and participating youth and families for their candid feedback and enthusiastic participation in this work.
Conflict of interest
The authors have no potential conflicts of interest.
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