Introduction This paper explains briefly the research proposal which specifically focuses on the programs proven to be effective in raising self-esteem in at-risk youth. This research proposal includes the background of the study, statement of the problem, statement of hypothesis, the significance of this study and scope and limitation of the study. Background of the Study The extent to which youth are labeled at-risk varies according to different authorities from psychology, education, sociology, and other fields (Astroh, 1993).
Some authorities maintain that all youth are born at high risk (Glenn & Nelsen, 1988). Others estimate that one-quarter of 10-17 year olds are at-risk Dryfoos, 1990). In more recent development, the number of youth in their high-risk years who commit offenses will increase: by 2010, 10- to 14-year-old juvenile offenders are projected to increase by about 6 percent, while ages 15 to 19 are expected to increase nearly 20 percent Brown & Sevcik, 1999). Effective at-risk youth programs begin with determining who are going to be served.
It is through them that programs determine the kinds of designs that are most appropriate for at-risk youth and the policies needed to support an effective high performance youth training system. According to Astroh (1993), broad generalizations about youth can detract from targeted efforts to address real-not perceived-problems in local communities. The loose definition of at-risk youth refers to those youth most likely to fail in school and the labor market.
Furthermore, the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act adopted by Congress defines “youth at risk” as a youth at risk of educational failure or dropping out of school or involvement in delinquent activities (Brown & Sevcik, 1999). More specifically, there are some methods in defining at-risk youth such as the Group Characteristics and the Skill Levels (Center for Human Resources, 1993). In the first method, at-risk population is defined in terms of demographic characteristics—having low income, being black or Hispanic, having dropped out of school, or receiving welfare.
More recently, behavioral characteristics such as court-involvement, teen parenting and substance abuse have been identified as additional risk factors. At-risk youth, then, are frequently defined in terms of a list of characteristics, or combinations of characteristics (CHR, 1993). Many states depend exclusively on these kinds of demographic indicators to define the at-risk population, because of the strong research base (CHR, 1993). However, the major drawback to using only group characteristics is that when used in planning, they tend to mask the real skill issues that need to be addressed (CHR, 1993).
The Skill Levels approach defines at-risk youth in terms of specific skill deficits or levels of employability; it focuses much more specifically on skills which can be matched up more directly with employer expectations (CHR, 1993). However, some practitioners argue that a purely skill-based definition fails to take into account important social and cultural barriers to Employment (CHR, 1993). To address this problem, CHR (1993) comes up with a “hybrid” definition. Here, one might define at-risk youth as those who are dropouts, or minorities, or teen parents and who lack specific educational and/or work skills.
The purpose of a hybrid definition is to gain the advantages of the skill approach – that is, targeting those with clearly specified employment skill needs while formally recognizing some of the social factors that exacerbate the risks of failure in the labor market (CHR, 1993). By including demographic and/or social characteristics, the hybrid approach may also make it easier for youth serving agencies to develop common definitions. To meet the needs of at-risk youth, the community needs to respond by developing intervention services for them that focus on building self-esteem, alternative leisure patterns, redirecting inappropriate
lifestyles or behaviors, developing personal skills, assisting with pre-employment training, development of morals and values and enhancing the quality of life through positive recreation experiences (Brown & Sevcik, 1999). According to the Association of African American Role Models (2003), one of most overlooked qualities missing in today’s at-risk youth is the building, maintaining, and utilizing self-esteem to achieve personal growth and success.
Raising low self-esteem can be a difficult process but one that is surely successful with the intervention of an effective program–empowering and counseling at-risk youth to visualize themselves as productive members of their communities (AAARM, 2003). Moreover, teaching self-esteem becomes a process that is continued by the at-risk youth themselves as their positive and productive attitudes permeate their interactions with those around them (AAARM, 2003). Brown and Sevcik (1999) state that recreational programs build self-esteem, self-discipline, commitment and teamwork.
Moreover, Therapeutic recreation plays an important role in reaching at-risk youth (Brown & Sevcik, 1999). Similarly, the 1992 Decima Report (1992) shows that through cultural alternatives, youth essential life skills including responsibility, self-esteem, cooperation, discipline and patience are built. Cultural activity builds self-discipline and perseverance in our youth; learning to play a musical instrument, rehearsing a play or executing a mosaic mural requires long hours of practice, focus and perseverance, all components of self-discipline, a trait that many at-risk youth are desperately lacking.
(Americans for the Arts, 1997) In a more recent report by the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities (1999), organized youth activities can deter risky behavior in adolescents; students who participate in band, orchestra, chorus or a school play are significantly less likely than non-participants to drop out of school, be arrested, use drugs or engage in binge drinking (SasCultre, 2003). Under this therapeutic recreational program, three methods of service are combined: Intervention, Diversion, and Prevention (Brown ; Sevcik, 1999).
The program involves at-risk youth in a school-directed recreational program within the community, developing an awareness of and interest in opportunities available to them outside the school day; enables them to experience fun leisure activities; and to develop healthy friendships, good sportsmanship, mentoring with individuals within the community and healthy leisure interests (Brown ; Sevcik, 1999). With these premises, the researchers will conduct this study to find out and to ascertain the responses made by the Social Work Institutions towards the raising self-esteem in at risk youths.
Statement of the Problem This researcher finds the necessity for a study that specifically tackles how successful programs are in raising at-risk youth’s self-esteem. This study intends to know why some programs fail. This proposed research study will try to answer the following queries: 1. What are the needs of at-risk youths in a program? 2. What are the factors that affect the success and effectiveness of a program in terms of raising self-esteem in at-risk youth? 3. What are the measures that should be done to improve a program? Hypothesis
There is a significant difference in the raising of self-esteem of the at risk youths at ___________________ when grouped according to gender and age. Significance of the Study This study will be a significant endeavor in boosting self-esteem in at-risk youth. This study will be helpful to social workers this will serve as a guide for them when dealing with at-risk kids. By understanding the needs of these children, in terms of their self-esteem, and presenting the cause of failures of some programs, administrators will be able to design means in raising self-esteem.
This could lead to the success of the program. Scope and Limitation This research study will only cover male and female at-risk youth who are currently under a program and whose ages range from 16 to 22. Thus, the programs that will be discussed in the entire study are from the Philippines, although, some programs from other countries might be briefly tackled. This study will only focus on the determination of what causes a program intended to raise self-esteem in at-risk youth, to succeed or to fail. Further, this study will operate based on its definition of at-risk youth.
The outcome of this study will be limited only to the data gathered from sociology books and journals and from the primary data gathered from the result of the survey and interview that will be conducted by the researcher. The conclusion and recommendation will only apply to a program which specifically aims to boost self-esteem in at-risk youth. Its application to other sociological domain of helping at-risk youth will need further research. As stated above, this research will partially base its findings through quantitative research methods because this permits a flexible and iterative approach.
During data gathering the choice and design of methods are constantly modified, based on ongoing analysis. This allows investigation of important new issues about raising self-esteem in at-risk youth within a Program and questions as they arise, and allows the investigator to drop unproductive areas of research from the original research plan. This study will also employ qualitative research method because it will attempt to find and build theories that will explain the relationship of one variable with another variable through qualitative elements in research.
Through this method, qualitative elements that do not have standard measures such as behavior, attitudes, opinions, and beliefs within the restaurants will be analyzed. Furthermore qualitative research is multi-method in focus, involving an interpretative, naturalistic approach to its subject matter. This means that qualitative researchers study things in their natural settings, attempting to make sense of, or interpret phenomena in terms of the meanings people bring to them.
The focus group discussion, on the other hand, will be conducted with the consent of the administrators. The secondary sources of data will come from published articles from Sociology journals, books and related studies on at-risk youth and programs intended to raise self-esteem in at-risk youth. For this research design, the researcher will gather data, collate published studies from different local and foreign universities and articles from social science journals; and make a content analysis of the collected documentary and verbal material.
Afterwards, the researcher will summarize all the information, make a conclusion based on the null hypotheses posited and provide insightful recommendations on the dealing with organizational management. Definition of Terms For the clearer understanding Chapter 2 Review of related literature Several related literature and studies conducted locally and abroad gave great help to researchers. Some of these studies are similar to the present study in methodology but the researchers believed that because of differences in social setting by the study, the result would not be the same.
Based on the data in “Improving the Self Esteem of At-risk Youth” (Levine, Majerovitz, Schnur, Robinson, and Soman, 2008), it describes and evaluate a program, RESOLVE, designed to increase self-esteem and encourage healthy lifestyle choices of at-risk youth. This federally-funded (U. S. Administration for Children and Families, CBAE) program combines an educational component teaching healthy lifestyles, goal setting, and refusal skills to avoid unhealthy behaviors with a vocational training and recreational component.
The emphasis of this evaluation is to assess the impact of program participation on self-esteem and knowledge of healthy behaviors. Self-esteem was chosen as a target variable for intervention based on its central role in predicting mental health and well-being, as well as enhanced health and social behaviors (Mann, Hosman, Schaalma, and deVries, 2004). Strong family and community relationships are predictors of high self-esteem (Greene and Way, 2005). These relationships are disrupted for foster care youth, placing them at risk for low self-esteem.
Low self-esteem and disruption in family and community relationships is associated with poor social and lifestyle choices. For example, lack of a father figure and low self-esteem are associated with higher risk of teen pregnancy among Jamaican youth (Keddie, 1992). Low self-esteem and disruption in family and community relationships is associated with poor social and lifestyle choices. For example, lack of a father figure and low self-esteem are associated with higher risk of teen pregnancy among Jamaican youth (Keddie, 1992).
Adolescents who had lower self-esteem at baseline reported initiating sex earlier and having had risky partners (Ethier et al. , 2003). Peer group programs that increased self-esteem among youth with severe behavior problems from dysfunctional families helped to reduce problem behaviors (Frank, 1996). A number of programs designed to encourage healthy life choices among at-risk adolescents have been reported in the literature. The most successful programs combine traditionally-presented curriculum with opportunities for practical application outside the classroom.
For example, the Teen Outreach Program (Allen, Philliber, and Hoggson, 1990) links volunteer work to classroom experience for at-risk youth. The program significantly reduced pregnancy and school drop-out rates among participants across a spectrum of ethnic groups. A similar program, the Quantum Opportunities Program (Hahn, Leavitt, and Aaron, 1994) offers education, mentoring, and volunteer service opportunities to disadvantaged youth. School drop-out rates and teen pregnancy decreased, while employment or further education increased.
The Catalano and colleagues (2004) review on positive youth development (PYD) was commissioned by the US Department of Health ; Human Services, completed in 2002, and conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Washington (Catalano, et al. , 2004). The review ultimately included twenty-five program evaluations, and findings indicate promising results for strength-based programs serving youth and children. The review’s definition of PYD is very broad, including any intervention that meets at least one of fifteen constructs6; none of which stipulated involvement of young people in program decisions or design.
The broad inclusion criteria for PYD programs coupled with a lack of predetermined outcomes largely explain why so many evaluations were included in the review. In contrast to the Catalano and colleagues review, the forthcoming review will focus on youth empowerment, reduce program heterogeneity, and minimize the chance of spurious conclusions due to a lack of predetermined outcomes. The Wallerstein (2006) review, conducted for the World Health Organization, was the only review identified by the authors that directly addressed empowerment strategies.
The review explores empowerment broadly for all age groups and with an interest in health outcomes. Wallerstein gives a useful overview of various themes within the broader empowerment movement and gives a framework for empowerment that includes multiple levels of outcomes. The broad, international review of outcomes linked to empowerment offers valuable context for this protocol. The resulting framework includes a heavy emphasis on self-efficacy, community engagement, and social bonding, which reinforce their importance as outcomes of interest in the planned review.