Reach for Health: A School-Sponsored Community
Youth Service Intervention for Middle School Students
The REACH FOR HEALTH COMMUNITY YOUTH SERVICES PROGRAM (RFH-CYS) targets
African-American and Hispanic youth living in urban areas. REACH FOR HEALTH combines
a classroom teaching component with community service work. The intervention,
as implemented, provides opportunities for middle school students to participate
in service activities within their communities while simultaneously reducing
early and unprotected sexual activity.
The intervention was initially delivered in 1994 to two large middle schools in Brooklyn, NY; one school was designated as the intervention school, the other as the control. A total of 68 classrooms participated in the initial implementation. In the control school, 33 classrooms (584 students) received the standard New York City health education program, which includes some mandated lessons on drugs and AIDS. Within the intervention school, 22 classrooms (222 students) were randomly assigned to receive core RFH curriculum (classroom component only). The remaining 13 intervention classrooms (255 students) received the enhanced RFH plus Community Youth Services program (RFH-CYS). Bi-lingual and special education classes were included from both school sites. At follow-up six months later, reports of sexual activity were higher across the sample. However, students in the control condition showed greater increases in risk behavior (ever had sex, recent sex, recent sex without condom, recent sex without birth control) than did their peers in the treatment conditions. In contrast, students in both intervention conditions showed increases in their use of STD protection and birth control. Also noteworthy are the findings that eighth graders and special education students showed the greatest improvement. View more detailed information on this program.
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