Minority adolescent emotional well being as impacted by the Empowered Youth Programs
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Academic achievement is the primary concern of K-12 institutions. Unfortunately, many factors affecting academic achievement are out of teachers’ control. Self-confidence, satisfaction with life, family environment, and hope have all been associated to levels of academic achievement. It might be hard for the existing educational system to alone help students with the above factors. Most students, and especially disadvantaged students, can benefit from an external program in addition to traditional education. Therefore there is a need for external programs that can supplement the educational experience while at the same time acting as a buffer against barriers that impede academic achievement. One such program is the Empowered Youth Programs (EYP). EYP is an enrichment program that targets underrepresented K-12 students and aims to help participants achieve academic and social excellence. EYP is structured to impact students’ self-concept, self esteem, satisfaction with life, family environment, and hope. Using an existing EYP database, this study examined EYP’s impact on these factors. This study assessed self-reports on measures of self-esteem, self-concept, satisfaction with life, family environment, and hope. It looked at the relationship between students’ emotional wellbeing and academic achievement. It looked for changes in student self-reports on the psychological measures with EYP participation. Finally, it examined whether any changes on self-reported psychological measures could be attributed to EYP. It was found that on average students scored within healthy ranges on measures of hope, life satisfaction, self-concept, and self-esteem. However, on average scores were within unhealthy ranges on the family environment measure. The database was incomplete so the relationship between academic achievement and emotional wellbeing was inconclusive. It was found that 1 semesters or more of EYP participation reduced family conflict at a statistically significant level. Although, all other measures showed improvement in scores with 1 or more semesters of EYP participation, these differences were not statistically significant. As to whether changes in self-reports could be attributed to EYP, findings to the other questions of this study suggest that EYP has a positive influence on participants’ emotional wellbeing, however, without a control group it is difficult to assess how much to attribute to EYP.