Insight to Impact Attached Brochure
Insight to Impact – A Short History
By Debbie Wilde
The YouthZone Model is a documented pattern for sustainable success in helping young people reach their potential.
Since its beginnings, YouthZone has been about helping kids make the best of their lives. This is no different than the myriad of other youth organizations. What is different is that about 17 years into the organization’s history, YouthZone began to get serious about determining if the “good work” being done was resulting in any change for youth.
An evaluator was hired to create baseline information from the years of data that had been collected from the youth that came through the organization’s doors. This data was combined with research and assessment knowledge to create a scientific based screening tool. The tool not only gave YouthZone case managers a better understanding of each young person they met with, put provided a pre-post tool to measure progress over time.
Over the next three years, YouthZone administered the pre-post test screening to several hundred youth. The analysis of the data showed that youth were in fact experiencing positive improvements in their lives after participating in YouthZone services. The evaluation identified areas for improvement which were addressed with new procedures and programming. The next three year analysis showed that all the critical areas being measured demonstrated highly significant improvement by the youth.
When young people were being asked how YouthZone made a difference for them, their replies made it plain that something critical was being accomplished: “I stopped drinking. It’s not a part of my life anymore, and I will stay and keep myself out of trouble.” “Made me realize what I am doing with my life. I need to turn it around.” “I have more respect for myself and more confidence in schooling and home life.” “My life got better.”
Now that YouthZone knew “what” the results of its services were for young people, work began to get a clear grasp of “how” that was being accomplished. Each step of the process was reviewed and recorded by staff and consultants. The result is an evidenced based model designed to support a holistic approach to youth services.
Subsequent evaluations reveal the significant changes for youth from YouthZone services are being maintained. A longitudinal evaluation was undertaken which determined that youth involved in YouthZone services continued in a positive direction months after their program with YouthZone was completed. The study also showed that case managers were consistent in their success with youth. These findings further established the validity of the YouthZone Model.
Instead of keeping its success to itself, YouthZone wants to do its part in providing programs that improve the ability of other communities to raise responsible youth. The organization provides a menu of innovative, replicable and proven modules delivered by Insight to Impact: Evidence-Based Systems for Youth Development, an entity of YouthZone that is dedicated to the development, marketing and on-going support of these practices.
By meeting the following standards, the model returns a maximum value to YouthZone and other organizations that implement it:
- Withstands the rigors of intense evaluation i.e. reliably measures change in youth overtime,
- Attains results with limited resources, and
- Provides a foundational structure for even inexperienced staff to realize effective results
The first programs to use the Insight to Impact system including the YouthZone Screening for Positive Youth Development™ are the Longmont Community Justice Partnership in Longmont, Colorado and La Plata Youth Services in Durango, Colorado. Each of these organizations find the web-based system helps them meet organizational goals including outcome measurement and evaluation.
A quote from evaluator Jerome R. Evans, Ph. D.
The YouthZone Example for Excellence in Services to Youth
On its own initiative, YouthZone has raised the accountability bar. Ahead of its funders or even of those referring adolescents for help, it has asked the hard questions about program effectiveness. Further distinguishing this effort, YouthZone invests in database development and client assessment. YouthZone is unique in its willingness to disseminate findings not only within its own organization but also to others in local communities and beyond who have a stake in the well-being of youth. Youth, parents and all the stakeholders in their well-being are the beneficiaries of this example.
Debbie Wilde served as YouthZone Executive Director for 30 years before taking the reins of Insight to Impact. Debbie continues her commitment to youth and families through her leadership of this new entity of YouthZone.