By: Justin Powell
Youthlinc programming is rigorous and holds students to high standards. We believe that youth will rise to the expectations set for them when proper support is offered. Data informs best-practice, and as such we constantly evaluate our programs to ensure we attain desired outcomes.
Youthlinc’s model is embedded in service-learning academic research. For example, the Philadelphia Higher Education Network for Neighborhood Development worked with over thirty colleges to evaluate the benefits of service-learning. They found that sound programs improve grades, increase attendance in school, and develop students’ personal and social responsibility.
Service learning strengthens local communities by:
-Building effective collaborative partnerships between schools and community organizations
-Meeting community needs through the service projects conducted
-Providing engaging and productive opportunities for youth to work with others
Youthlinc aligns with Riessman’s helper theory and integrates activities and curriculum in all programs:
-Gain an improved self-image
-Become more committed to a position through the process of advocating it
-Experience meaningful development of abilities after having been given a stake in a system and learning through teaching others
-Gain access to a socially-valued role and the resultant sense of social importance
-Enjoy opportunities to affirm one’s own wellness following placement as a role model
-Shift one’s focus from self-concerns to assisting others (thus distracting oneself from ongoing difficulties)
Youthlinc also supports the mission of the Utah State Board of Education’s “Portrait of a Graduate.” Youthlinc’s core strategies align with several of the USBE’s goals:
-Collaboration & Teamwork: Contribute ideas, perspectives, and experiences to cultivate a community of shared accountability and leadership.
-Hard Work & Resilience: Set personal goals, apply best efforts to achieve them, and persevere when faced with challenges and setbacks.
-Service: Seek opportunities to help when assistance is needed and act without expecting compensation or recognition.
-Respect: Acknowledge differences by looking for the good in everyone, including oneself, and have regard for feelings, rights, cultures, and traditions.
Service Year participants are surveyed throughout the year to measure their progress and our strategies as they relate to desired outcomes. Also, every three years, Youthlinc surveys the past five years of Service Year participants to see how their time with the organization continues to guide their lives as it relates to our core strategies and achievement of mission. Below is our most recent survey of our last five years of alumni:
-Degree to which volunteers feel comfortable working with others to accomplish a project- increase from 30% to 95%
-Ability to plan a project by yourself or with others- 33% to 98%
-Confidence in facing and solving a problem– 30% to 97%
-Ability to cope with setbacks, changes in plans– 27% to 97
-Benefit from professional mentorship through Youthlinc- 26% to 99%
-See the positive and potential in oneself and others- 18% to 98%
-Realize the potential or ability to make a difference in your community or world- 18% to 98%
-Degree Youthlinc has strengthened your desire to be a lifetime humanitarian- 12% to 80%
The opportunities Youthlinc offers to students are unparalleled in how they help students develop skills and characteristics. We take any student desirous to improve, meet them where they are at in their development, and help them grow important skills that lead to a more successful life.