The Kingston YMCA Youth Development Programme
Impact on violence among at-risk youth in Jamaica
We present data on aggression-related outcomes for participants in the Kingston YMCA Youth Development Programme. This program is designed to provide at-risk, low income males ages 14-17 in urban Kingston, Jamaica with intensive remedial education, social skills training, and personal development over three to four years.
Two samples of youth were included: (a) 180 males, 125 of whom were currently enrolled in the program for at least six months and 55 of whom were in a wait-list control group; (b) 117 males, including 56 program graduates and a matched sample of 60 community controls.For the currently enrolled sample, significant reductions in aggressive behavior were found after controlling for aggressive propensity. For the graduate sample, significant reductions in aggressive propensity and aggressive behavior were found. The findings are discussed in terms of the potential of programs developed by youth service agencies for extremely disadvantaged youth to have short-term and long-term benefits for youth most at-risk, the importance of considering propensity for aggression as a viable program outcome, and support for the notion that it is "never too late" to help youth succeed. (Abstract)