Youth-led program development, organizing, research, and health promotion have been identified as an important practices for community practitioners. Since such practices target vulnerable youth, it is critical that such empowerment programs are trauma-informed. This paper addresses trauma, its potential impacts, and cultural differences in understanding trauma as well as the assumptions of empowerment and youth-led programming. The relationship between health and empowerment is described as well as how youth empowerment programs can specifically target symptoms of powerlessness, low self-esteem and interpersonal difficulties, commonly experienced by youth living in socially toxic environments. Implications for program development, research, and policy are considered.
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For the purpose of this paper, “youth” and “young person,” will be used interchangeably and reference individuals ages 15–24, in line with the United Nations’ definition of youth (UNFPA, 2012).
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Bulanda, J., Byro Johnson, T. A Trauma-Informed Model for Empowerment Programs Targeting Vulnerable Youth. Child Adolesc Soc Work J 33, 303–312 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10560-015-0427-z