It is conference season at YES — a time during which we participate in national conferences to inform stakeholders, practitioners, and scholars about our programs and our science-based approaches to serving at-risk youth. This year, our team attended the Conference on Community Writing (CCW) and the Annual American Public Health Association (APHA) Meeting and Expo. During 2019, YES has charted new territory by developing a business incubator, positioning youth to enter prestigious institutions, addressing health inequalities among black female youth, and reshaping the narratives of black entrepreneurs. Our work has been well-received and insightful for others doing similar work. Our involvement with CCW allowed us to present our scholarship on Justice Entrepreneurship and narratives about how our youth challenged “Who can be an entrepreneur,” in our youth-based summer incubator.
During the 2019 APHA Conference, we presented work on the impact of health in our region. Our first presentation examined our efforts to increase college access and persistence among low-income students of color, which focused on framing college access as a public health issue. We further discussed our youth’s work to capture the narratives of opioid survivors, as little is known about those who recover from abusing such substances. This project also explored teens’ knowledge of this issue within their own communities. Our final presentation titled, “Don’t forget about us,” took a closer look at the decline of black and white female athletes and how YES intervened to provide black female athletes with access to high quality sport for development programs to mitigate the gender gap in sport participation. Our results suggest that our students established leadership skills, confidence, and positive self-concepts as they engaged in our female-led sport program.
Both conferences brought about new scholarship, partnerships, and programming opportunities. Our youth continue to drive our efforts and attending conferences such as CCW and APHA help us highlight the work they do to make Pittsburgh a better place. We are full and extremely excited about our future work.