Positive Youth Development Among Liberian Street Children

Following a 14-year civil war and the recent crippling outbreak of Ebola, Liberia is the fourth poorest country in the world (World Bank, 2016). Liberian youth, thousands of whom lost parents to Ebola, are struggling to survive in a country that has experienced 0 percent growth for the past three years (World Bank, 2016). L.A.C.E.S. (Life and Change Experienced through Sport), a sport for development program, began working with youth in Liberia in 2007. This organization works with local partners to engage youth in sports and expose them to an empirically based curriculum designed to foster healthy development.

Using a mixed-methods form of inquiry, this project explores the challenges and opportunities associated with promoting positive youth development among Liberian early adolescents participating in the L.A.C.E.S. program. Youth will complete two-rounds of surveys, designed to gauge the degree to which the program has fostered positive youth development, and a subset will also participate in interviews, designed to tease out why this program was or was not effective. To further shed light on how the program worked, a photojournalism approach will be used, in which youth take pictures of the people, places, and things that help support and curtail their healthy development.

Principal Investigators: Dr. Kendall Cotton Bronk and Dr. Lindsey Blom (Ball State University)
Project Lead: James McConchie (Email)
Funder: Benjamin V. Cohen Fellowship