Adult roles in community-based youth empowerment programs: Implications for best practices

De Anne K. Hilfinger Messias, Elizabeth M. Fore, Kerry McLoughlin, Deborah Parra-Medina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Current literature on community-based youth empowerment programs provides few specific operational descriptions of adult roles. This research addressed that gap by exploring the perspectives and experiences of adults actively engaged with youth empowerment programs. Data were gathered through in-depth interviews, field observations, and interactive group discussions with adult program leaders. The following dimensions of adults' work were identified: putting youth first; raising the bar for youth performance; creating the space and making things happen; being in relationships; exerting influence, control, and authority; and communicating and connecting with the broader community. These findings provide guidance for the development of best practices in community-based youth empowerment programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)320-337
Number of pages18
JournalFamily and Community Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2005


  • Adult roles
  • Community health
  • Youth empowerment
  • Youth programs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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