The GTY program has received a “Best Practice” national designation by the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, while the Vermont Department of Health has recognized the program as an “Evidence-based Practice.”  According to a news release from UP for Learning, the parent organization of Getting to Y, a panel of public health and child and adolescent health experts award the title to programs “that have been extensively evaluated and proven effective.”

The students are encouraged to brainstorm and come up with solutions to address some issues revealed by their  school’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey.
“These recognitions came after thorough review of the theoretical underpinnings, practice implementation, and outcome data of GTY and are strong affirmations of the impact and importance of the program in promoting the health and well-being of young people,” said Sharon Koller, GTY Coordinator.

The GTY programme brings teens together via middle and high school groups, and holds workshops in which the students evaluate data from their school’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Then they are encouraged to brainstorm and come up with solutions to address some of the issues revealed by the survey.

Within the groups, the students are supported by adults who guide them and direct them to resources which can aid growth in challenging areas, so that the issues can be effectively tackled whilst considering both perspectives. “I think students are often the people being acted upon in ways they can oftentimes not have their voice heard,” said Townes DeGroot, a U-32 junior. “I think this is a really great opportunity for students to express what their needs are and their unique and important ideas on how to address them.”

The national Best Practice designation

The national Best Practice designation gives schools the opportunity to seek funding in order to implement the GTY program within their own districts. To this effect, as of February 2020, a few schools in New Mexico have already adopted the program for their students.

“This is an extraordinary designation as it gives UP for Learning the opportunity to share our program, which centers youth voice, at the national level, reaching schools and organizations that want a proven tool to engage young people in the health and well-being of their peers and their communities,” said Lindsey Halman, UP for Learning’s Executive Director.

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