Background NZ Communities recognise that our lengthy 2-month summer school holiday is a major contributor to our 15–18 year olds getting bored. Youth jobs are scarce and by late January many parents are back at work and youth left at home. Congregating is seen as an answer to the boredom and some gatherings will eventually lead to an involvement in anti-social behaviour.
Objective To create ‘Service Learning Experiences’ within the community for 15–18-year-olds. Research shows youth volunteer projects achieve best success compared to other projects when looking to reduce anti-social behaviour.1Youth involved in positive activities may develop a better understanding of negative activities.
Method Stakeholders identified, planning workshop and Steering Group formed. Needs Assessment conducted and delivery strategy developed. 8 projects created and media promulgation. Registrations received and acknowledged with project details.
Results One project was cancelled prior to commencement. We managed 74 placements in the supervised projects from 41 registrations. After the first day volunteers were keen to participate in other projects in the subsequent days. All but one completed their projects. Each completed an evaluation of the project and received a participation certificate to reflect the community contribution. Most volunteers came from two secondary schools and from one church group.
Conclusions Youth prefer hands-on activity over indoor non-active learning activities. At-risk youth were noticeably absent. We were unable to gather comments from the at-risk youth so no conclusion was reached regarding anti-social behaviour.
1Presenting Multiple Risky Behaviours Among Adolescents: seven Strategies. Terzian, Andrews & Moore.
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