Demonstrate aggregate and funding specific program impact.
Use of Theory or Research
Using common instruments across programs helps show impact on outcomes related to participants' knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors (Payne & McDonald, 2015). A subset of programming used teen teachers and studies indicate teens are better able to connect with younger youth (Ripberger & Blalock, 2011; Smith, 2014).
Youth (3rd grade+) participating in 6 hours or more of nutrition and physical activity programming.
Extension professionals educated youth (83% elementary audiences) across 23 counties. Settings included out-of-school time programs, community sites, schools, and youth organizations.
Program evaluations were included if there was a pre/post matched program activity ID and the National 4-H Common Measures Healthy Living survey tool was used (14 pre-post items). Four groups were compared: non-grant funded (NGF), teens as teachers (TT), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed), and SNAP-Ed and TT (SNAP-Ed/TT). Significant, positive differences are reported (P < 0.05) based on 2 related samples, Wilcoxon signed ranks test using SPSS.
Overall, youth (n = 1544) reported significant differences in 50% of items: planning/awareness around healthy eating and activity habits and confidence in food safety and preparation skills. NGF youth (n = 101) reported significant differences in 28% of items: planning around healthy eating and activity habits and recipe preparation confidence. TT youth (n = 871) reported significant differences in 43% of items: planning to drink the recommended amount of water, eating breakfast more, awareness of activity and screen time, and food safety practices. SNAP-Ed youth (n = 325) reported significant differences in 14% of items: awareness of screen time and recipe preparation confidence. SNAP-Ed/TT youth (n = 247) reported significant differences across 100% of items.
Using a common evaluation and centralized reporting system helped better document youth impact across funding sources. Further investigation is needed regarding feasibility of incorporating teens as teachers into more programming and how funding influences curriculum fidelity and quality of instruction.