The Youth Leaders Program (YLP)
Initiative Description: The program takes a primary prevention approach to reduce rates of youth suicide, which includes reducing associated risk factors such as substance abuse and bullying, and increasing protective factors such as school attendance and engagement, academic success, cultural identity, and overall positive school climate. The program explicitly incorporates Inupiaq cultural values such as respect for others, cooperation, hard work, responsibility to tribe, and sharing. Each school in the district selects between four and 18 Youth Leaders (YLs, the term used for participating students). Typically, YLs are chosen from the student body by an all-school vote YL advisors are teachers or other adults in each village school who oversee and guide the work of the YLs. Advisors generally convene weekly meetings with YLs in which they talk about what has happened in the past week and to plan what they will work on in the future.
Study Results: Increased GPA and decreased disciplinary actions required.
Reference: Wexler, L., Poudel-Tandukar, K., Rataj, S., Trout, L., Poudel, K. C., Woods, M., & Chachamovich, E. (2017). Preliminary evaluation of a school-based youth leadership and prevention program in rural Alaska native communities. School Mental Health, 9(2), 172-183.
Level of Evidence: Good