Before starting the program, teen teachers consistently reported being unsure of their knowledge, skills, and abilities to teach younger youth. However, the results showed a pattern of improved health knowledge, self-perception, and increased skills/abilities such as communicating with others and public speaking. Data also show teen teachers reported increases in positive youth development constructs (e.g., pro-social values, future orientation, contribution to others) after participating.
Participants consistently reported that because of their YA4-H! experience, they view themselves as leaders, mentors, and people who can help others. Evaluation of the program shows teen teachers’ levels of comfort, confidence, and teaching skills increased.
Pre- and post-survey results, interviews, open-ended comments, and observations showed increases in health knowledge and healthy eating behaviors among both teens and younger youth. Those include reading nutrition labels and engaging in more physical activity on a regular basis. We found teen teachers and ‘students’ demonstrated increases in health/nutrition awareness, skills such as food preparation, and increased motivation and desire to eat healthy.
Evaluation results found aspects of both positive youth development and youth-adult partnership frameworks. Teen teachers and adult partners consistently reported the initial statewide training was a key component including associated curricula.
The YA4-H! program has consistently demonstrated success in achieving its mission and targeted goals. We found, overall, that when youth are adequately trained and provided a high level of support, structure, and organization to teach younger youth, everyone benefits (Weybright et al., 2016).