Youth Program: #RelationshipSmarts
In Summer 2014, we launched a new and free youth program targeted toward 7th and 8th grade youth. #RelationshipSmarts was made possible in part by the generous support of the Rotary Club of Sacramento,
This 12-lesson, 15-hour program taught positive youth development and empowered students to form healthy relationships and work toward their goals. It engaged students through various interactive, discussion-based and creative activities, and incorporated multimedia (popular music, music videos, films) to help kids relate to and apply the concepts taught.
What Our #RelationshipSmarts Students Learned:
- Navigating the world of romantic relationships – understanding that healthy relationships start with the individual and identifying personal strengths and weaknesses to understand the importance of personal development.
- A deeper understanding of what a healthy relationship is and is not –recognizing warning signs of a dangerous or unhealthy relationship and gaining new tools for dating violence prevention.
- Building life skills that are critical in all kinds of relationships (romantic, peer, family, friends) – including communication and conflict management skills, how to manage uncomfortable emotions, responding to difficult social situations.
“This program taught us different situations in life that we might face and how to deal with them” -Youth Participant
Evidence of Success:
The selected curriculum has undergone a 5 year study done by Auburn University researchers involving over 5,000 diverse teenage students. Upon completing the study, they reported sustained gains over time that included increases in students’ realistic understanding of relationships, decreases in faulty relationship beliefs, broadened understandings of relationship aggression, and declines in aggression in relationships when compared to students in control groups.
The curriculum won the 2009 Distinguished Achievement Award for curriculum-based teaching aids from the Association of Educational Publishers (AEP).