LYRIC, to transgender, bisexual, lesbian, and gay youth (McDonald et al., 2001).

Community programs for youth may engage a set of youth in communities that are particularly isolated and where youth have less access to social integration. For adolescents living in rural communities, where the proportion of parents working outside the home is the largest in the country, community programs for youth can nurture engagement and create a strong sense of belonging (Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, 1998a). An after-school program in rural Kentucky (the Clinton County School District), for example, offers an academic summer camp to 100 youth. These young people participate in sports activities, dancing and music, hunter education courses, computer skills training, communications skills activities, and public speaking. Given the isolated nature of this Kentucky community, opportunities for special field trips or exposure to diverse skills training are more limited than in urban areas. For these reasons, the on-site program is complemented with a Spanish course taught on-line by a teacher 90 minutes away, and young people take electronic field trips by way of the Internet (Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, 1998a).

Positive Social Norms

Some community programs for youth are designed as drop-in activities, where young people can come and go and participate in rotating activities of their choice. Other programs require youth to make a commitment to the program and as a result have high expectations for their involvement. These programs support prosocial norms by teaching youth responsibility to uphold certain rules of behavior, to be accountable to the program and its expectations, and to agree to live up to a set of morals and values.

Participants in the East Oakland Youth Development Center, which offers a range of activities for young people and their families, are required to make a commitment to the program through membership in one of the program’s teams, dance troupes, or clubs. And to become a member of one of these groups, participants have to agree to the programs’ values, which encourage self-respect and respect among peers and adults. At all costs, the center enforces these established rules and expectations of respect. The objective is to help young people integrate these norms into their character and their behavior in other parts of their lives (McLaughlin et al., 2001).

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