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California State University, Long Beach
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The YMCA Youth Institute

Principal Investigator: Julie O'Donnell, Ph.D.

The Long Beach YMCA Youth Institute is an innovative program that uses technology and service learning as a mechanism for promoting positive youth development while enhancing the academic success and career readiness of low-income, culturally-diverse, urban middle and high school students. The goals of the program are to increase academic, technology, social and life skills and to develop leadership and job training skills. Youth are recruited strategically so that the project is ethnically and gender diverse and cultural-competence is emphasized. Students participate in an intensive summer program. They then graduate from the summer program and attend the afterschool program during their school year where they have access to the latest technologies, academic assistance, emotional support, job internships, and community service opportunities. The Child Welfare Training Centre provides ongoing quantitative and qualitative evaluation services to the program. The research is currently investigating program effects on technology skills, positive youth development, educational attitudes, and grades. This project is funded through grants from the Knight Foundation, the Keck Foundation, the California Emerging Technology Foundation, and the Marguerite Casey Foundation.