mentoring, encouragement for opening savings accounts, and financial incentives for participation (Quantum Opportunities, the Summer Training and Education Program, Louisiana State Youth Opportunities).
Several programs excelled in integrating family, school, and community into their program design. The Midwestern Prevention Project includes a set of program activities to prevent adolescent drug use: (1) mass media programming with news clips, commercials, and talk show discussions on drug use incorporated with information on their program; (2) a school-based program teaching resistance and counteraction skills for drug use; and (3) parent education and organizing.
Project Northland also used a community-wide approach. Students received skills training to enhance their social competency in dealing with their parents, their peers, and the norms surrounding alcohol use. Parent education and involvement was also stressed through parent-student homework activities and through newsletters to parents containing educational information. Community-level changes in alcohol-related programs and policies were also targeted. Finally, the Valued Youth Partnership Program participants were given training in how to tutor and then engaged in tutoring of younger students for at least four hours per week. Parents were involved in school activities, and students were exposed to role models in the community through presentations and field trips.
These two characteristics of positive developmental settings from our list—appropriate structure and physical and psychological safety—received little mention in the program descriptions. Perhaps this omission reflects that fact that these characteristics are considered so basic that they are not worthy of explicit mention. One of the fundamental reasons for community programming for youth is to provide safe places for them to go. Wisdom would dictate then that programs must enable youth to feel and be psychologically and physically safe. To do this, programs need to have clear and consistent rules, expectations, and boundaries. Nevertheless, the absence of these features is likely to be a major reason why programs fail and why some programs produce negative results.