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Prog Community Health Partnersh. 2010 Fall;4(3):235-42. doi: 10.1353/cpr.2010.0011.

Partnering with youth organizers to prevent violence: an analysis of relationships, power, and change.

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Pitzer College, USA.



Youth from the city of San Bernardino, California, launched a community organizing campaign to develop policy changes to address conditions of inter-racial violence in their community. Pitzer College students collaborated with the high school youth organizers in a community-based participatory research (CBPR) project to study violence and racial conflict at local high schools.


The purpose of the project was to explore the experiences and perceptions of high school youth about racial conflict in their community and to develop policy proposals to address this issue.


Undergraduate student researchers and high school youth organizers collaborated in designing and conducting narrative research. Together they developed questions and carried out semi-structured interviews and two focus groups with 40 local youth. The undergraduate students then coded and analyzed the data to identify common themes. Youth organizer's feedback was incorporated into a final, shared research report, including policy proposals, which were presented to the greater community.


Youth organizers worked with city and school administrators to secure the implementation of programs they recommended to address their research's findings. Programs were enacted to reduce racial bias and conflict on school campuses, and city leaders agreed to develop a strategic youth development plan together with youth organizers.


The partnership experience supported important policy changes in San Bernardino high schools, yet also illuminated areas wherein the community-campus partnerships could work more intentionally to shift power dynamics between and within the partners, address conditions that generate dependency and inequality in the partnership, and expand outcomes of institutional and community transformation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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