Improving Adolescent Health through Out of School Time Opportunities
Today’s blog is written by Polly Edwards-Padgett, Program Director, Connect, Mary Black Foundation
Essential Components of Adolescent Health
In the field of adolescent growth and development, national leaders identified five essential components of adolescent health. Adolescents should have:
- Positive connections with supportive adults
- Safe and secure places to live, learn and play
- Access to high quality, teen friendly healthcare
- Opportunities for teens to engage as learners, leaders, team members and workers
- Coordinated adolescent and family centered services, as needed
Using the TAG Framework for Adolescent Health in Spartanburg
This framework is called TAG; Think, Act, Grow and it’s goal is simple: to spark action that can support the healthy development of all adolescents. Mary Black Foundation‘s Adolescent Health initiative, Connect adopted the TAG framework in 2015 with youth serving organizations across Spartanburg County. Instead of focusing on the behaviors we seek to prevent (risk), we focus on a strength-based approach focused on the assets of teens. Two examples of partners utilizing the TAG framework are My Brother’s Keeper and City of Spartanburg Parks and Recreation.
My Brother’s Keeper
My Brother’s Keeper collaborates with School District 7 and Carver Middle school to provide an after school program for males. This program uses an evidence-based program called Aban Aya for 5th-8th grade students provides group based mentoring and opportunities for teens to engage as leaders in a safe place. Preliminary data from the Aban Aya program suggests that participation in the program has a positive influence on test scores and discipline referrals and statistically significant improvements occur at the 30-39 hour level of participation.
City of Spartanburg Parks and Recreation
City of Spartanburg Parks and Recreation also works to provide the five essentials to adolescent health in their three facilities. Providing a multitude of opportunities for youth to engage as learners, leaders, team members and workers in a safe, secure place surrounded by supportive adults, they are a safe place for youth in the city to land and grow. Serving over 150 youth with evidence-based programs in conjunction with positive youth development programs, City Parks and Recreation sets the standard for TAG.
Out of School Time Opportunities for Youth
TAG is a strength based approach focused on the positive assets of teens. Our teens need safe places during out of school time to build social and cognitive assets which in turn will improve their health and wellness. Join the City of Spartanburg Parks and Recreation and My Brother’s Keeper at Spartanburg Academic Movement’s Lights ON for After School event on October 24 to learn more about the BluePrint for Spartanburg County to increase OST opportunities for youth. This event is free, but please be sure to register.