As a positive youth development program, C.A.T.S. was created in partnership with youth. When youth are partners with adults in making decisions, the likelihood that the decisions will be accepted and become part of their every day lives increases. Youth are more likely to be effective at engaging peers and have greater impact. The empowered youth in C.A.T.S. identify and respond to peer needs which helps them become empathetic and future focused.
As youth led peer educators, teens volunteer their time and talent in the program delivering positive strategies for success in avoiding risk behaviors and establishing healthy relationships.
Because of leadership opportunities, schools cooperatively release students from school as part of their community service programs.
How program success is measured is of interest to many. One of the tools we use is the Youth View Survey which gauges student’s motivations and aspirations. Another way we access program success is the number of years that students volunteer in the C.A.T.S. program. The average student who begins in
tenth grade remains in the program three years.
Fifty-four C.A.T.S. high school members completed the Youth View Survey. The Youth View OST Survey was developed by Summit Education Initiative and is designed to measure students’ motivations and aspirations which are broken into scales:
- Mastery Orientation: focuses on personal growth and improvement.
- Self-Efficacy: measures how confident students are in their ability to do well in school.
- School Value: measures how students see school in relation to future successes.
- College-going Identity: looks at students’ expectations for further education.
- Future Self: measures how clearly students see their future.
- Sense of Belonging: measures how connected, respected, and safe students feel in their out-of-school program.
The means for all of the scales are in the High range as shown in the table below.
100% of the participants said they would recommend this program to a friend of family member.
As the C.A.T.S. program enters its 30th year, we think this too may be a good measure of success…not only of the program but more importantly of the student volunteers.