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Afterschool programs can help youth in a number of ways. They can provide a safe place for youth in their communities, and when run well, they can help youth avoid drug abuse, delinquency, and teen pregnancy. Not only can afterschool programs help reduce problem behaviors, they can also be a place where youth build skills and supportive relationships with adults.

The focus of LEGACY as an applied research project is to understand how to help afterschool programs promote citizenship, skills, and positive youth behavior that may ultimately lead to preventing delinquency and substance abuse.

Leading, Educating, Guiding, A Community of Youth Together

Project Description and Plan

Participating afterschool program sites have been randomly assigned to receive program support and coaching on a cooperative game, or to act as a comparison site conducting "business as usual". Survey and observational data on the staff and children will be collected to determine the effectiveness of the intervention.

We expect that this project will help us find and validate tools that can be used effectively to understand and improve afterschool settings. Moreover, if successful, an afterschool program manual and training will be developed in collaboration with one of our partners. Research reports will be disseminated in scientific literature through journals and chapters and via clearinghouses and/or Web sites that help both scientists and practitioners.

Investigators and Partners

The Pennsylvania State University (Investigators):
Dr. Emilie Smith, Department of Human Development and Family Studies
Dr. Daniel Perkins, Department of Agriculture and Extension Education
Dr. Linda Caldwell, Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management
Dr. Wayne Osgood, Department of Sociology
Hempfield Behavioral Health (Investigator):
Dr. Howard Rosen, Director
Hempfield Behavioral Health, Harrisburg, PA
Survey Research Center, The Pennsylvania State University
Dennis Embry, PAXIS Institute, Tuscon, AZ

Funding Agencies

The William T. Grant Foundation

The Wallace Foundation

National Institute on Drug Abuse