The Youth Survey Research Theme Working Group is focused on ACT for Youth's first research question:
"What assets and resources do youth in urban communities have and what are the possible ways that communities can increase their development using socializing systems within the community including the family, neighborhood, congregation, school, youth organization, and place of work?"
Specific research objectives that the Youth Survey Working Group is focusing on include:
- To understand what resources and assets youth in urban communities have
- To explore possible ways that communities can increase the development of assets for youth using socializing systems within the community
- To gather general information on social, economic and other characteristics in Jane-Finch that can be compared with other places and through time
- To understand how socio-economic and other structural conditions in the community intersect
- To understand how socio-economic and other conditions that youth experience are related to place.
Key Research Activities
Youth Survey: The Working Group will conduct a survey of 3,500 youth in grades 6 - 12 in Jane-Finch using the Search Institute's Survey of Student Resources and Assets Questionnaire. The survey focuses on four categories of youth experiences:
- 40 Developmental Assets: Positive experiences, relationships, opportunities, and personal qualities that young people need to grow up healthy, caring, and responsible
- Fundamental Resources: Ongoing relationships with caring adults; Safe places and structured activities during non-school hours; A healthy start for a healthy future; Marketable skills through effective education; and Opportunities to serve
- Thriving Indicators: Healthy adolescent development is not defined solely as the absence of health-compromising behaviors but also includes life-enhancing attitudes and behaviors, which, in this survey, are called Thriving Indicators. The indicators examined by this survey are: "succeeds in school" and "maintains good health"
- Risk-Taking Behaviors: The Survey includes 5 questions about the extent to which students are involved in risk-taking behaviors. The behaviors measured are the use of alcohol, tobacco and marijuana, school truancy and eating disorder.
Analysis of Secondary Data Sets: The Working Group will analyze the following data sets (using GIS mapping, Bivariate and multivariate statistical analysis): 2006 Census profile data (CTs and DAs); 2006 Census customized data and Toronto Police contact card data.
The data from the youth survey will provide a map of assets within the Jane-Finch community that will be used to mobilize residents, families, neighborhoods, youth organizations, religious organizations, and the rest of the community to take action and strengthen developmental processes and experiences for the community's youth (Benson et al., 1998).
One area to which our data will make an important contribution, considering the Jane-Finch community's diversity, is in understanding if there are specific assets among diverse youth that are more important as predictors of PYD.
Working Group Members