Rochester Youth Show Passion for the Community

Drug prevention, youth curfew, and job availability were among the top concerns occupying teens' minds the past six months. On Wednesday, May 9, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., a team of 18 youth researchers from the RASA Youth Impact! Program will present their community-based research projects on these key issues, and more, facing teens today.

The RASA Youth Impact! Program, directed by faculty and students at the University of Rochester's Warner School of Education and sponsored by the Rochester After School Academy, has worked with students to collaboratively design and implement community-based research projects on issues important to youth in Rochester.

"Looking at Rochester from the perspective of youth and focusing on our well-being is a great start to understanding what's really going on in the community," said Amarili Wright, a RASA Youth Impact! participant and a student at Edison Tech High School. "This research gives us a chance to put some real information out there and improve our community."

Representing seven local high schools—East High, Edison Tech, John Marshall, Rush-Henrietta, School Without Walls, Wilson Commencement, and Wilson Foundation—youth researchers met every other Saturday for six months to collect and analyze data on issues including: safety and the youth curfew; job availability; urban school resources; parent and community involvement; and alcohol, tobacco, and drug awareness and prevention. Based on their research projects, youth devised recommendations—both for themselves and for the broader Rochester community.

"We're very pleased with the respect and enthusiasm our youth have for the community, and their desire to work on critical issues affecting Rochester's youth," said Sherri Lauver, RASA Youth Impact! co-director and assistant professor at the Warner School of Education. "The RASA Youth Impact! Program helps young people become community leaders by providing apprenticeships and community research skills. This ultimately gives them the platform to be heard while learning about processes of community change in Rochester. Through the program's success, we hope to illustrate the importance of involving youth in voicing their opinions on critical issues and playing an active role in improving Rochester."

Youth researchers will present their research and implications of their findings to the community at the Interfaith Chapel, River Level, on the University of Rochester's River Campus. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Kimberly Wells at (585) 276-3227.

Tags: RASA Youth Impact! Program, Sherri Lauver, urban education, youth culture, youth researchers