- Grantee Organization Name: Sasha Bruce Youthwork, Inc.
- Organization Address (Street, City, State, Zip): 701 Maryland Ave, NE, Washington, D.C., 20002
- Organization website URL (if any): www.sashabruce.org
- Brief Description of the Organization: Sasha Bruce Youthwork, Inc. is a non-profit organization in Washington, DC that addresses the needs of youth by helping them find safe and reliable home environments, build stable relationships with family members, explore educational and career opportunities, and access health services. These outcomes are achieved through the implementation of 18 professionally staffed programs.
Grant Project Information
- Title of Grant Project: POWER Program
- Amount of OMH Award: $247,874
- Name of Project Director: Margaux Delotte-Bennett
Brief Description of the Grant Project
In Washington, D.C., Wards 5, 6, 7, and 8 have the highest concentration of minority youth, a large number of whom may be sexually active. Rates of HIV/AIDS transmission in these neighborhoods are also disproportionately greater than in other wards. Neighborhood disinvestment and lack of resources contribute to poor health outcomes for youth in these communities.
In a strategic effort to alleviate these health disparities, Sasha Bruce Youthwork, Inc. (SBY) has provided HIV/AIDS education and outreach to youth in disadvantaged neighborhoods for over nineteen years. The POWER program, a collaborative effort of SBY and Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, expanded upon and improved existing HIV/AIDS education and testing activities by utilizing trained peer educators to implement two evidenced-based curricula, Street Smart and Community PROMISE, to at-risk youth (e.g. runaways, youth in transition, and adolescents in underserved communities), ages 13 to 24 years old.
Street Smart is a 10-session skills-based intensive course for runaway youth. Key components of the program include enhancing youth interpersonal and conflict management skills, assessing and avoiding sexually risky situations, and educating youth on the importance of preventive sexual health practices (e.g., using condoms). Small session sizes ensure that participants feel comfortable expressing themselves while also receiving individualized attention when needed. Modeled after the AIDS Community Demonstration Projects, Community PROMISE is a community-level intervention that promotes HIV prevention through community mobilization. Peer educators are recruited and trained to distribute risk-reduction supplies. These materials included condoms as well as role model stories written by community members who adopted the necessary steps to practice HIV risk-reduction behaviors. Both the Street Smart and Community PROMISE curricula were vital to the success of the POWER program. SBY supplemented these curricula by conducting youth educational workshops and providing rapid HIV testing and referral services. Clients who received an HIV test also received counseling services, including an individualized risk-reduction plan.
The long-term anticipated outcome of the POWER program pertained to a reduction in the transmission of HIV among high-risk youth. Over the course of the grant period, the program intended to achieve this outcome by providing young people with positive role models who reinforce prevention messages and emphasize the importance of knowing one's serostatus.
A mixed-method process and outcome evaluation was used to quantify the total number of youth recruited and reached by the POWER program and the number of young people who participated in each activity. A pre-post test was administered to participants to determine changes in youth knowledge of HIV/AIDS and associated risky behaviors. An exit survey was distributed to participants upon program completion to quantify uptake of HIV testing and counseling services. Participants who completed the HIV prevention counseling survey after completion of an HIV test responded to questions that provided insight as to why clients chose the testing site, their satisfaction with the counseling session, and their self-reported knowledge of HIV and preventive behaviors (e.g., talking to their partner about getting tested together). Substantial qualitative data was also collected through key informant interviews and on-site observation.
Key program findings reported throughout the grant period indicated:
- An increase in the number of individuals who were tested for HIV and informed of their serostatus. Data showed that 1,269 youth were tested for HIV. Of these participants, 1,267 received their test results.
- An increased awareness and knowledge of HIV/AIDS transmission and prevention. Survey data revealed that of 230 young people who received HIV counseling and completed a survey, 72% increased their general knowledge about HIV/AIDS.
- A reduction in risky behavior. In a post-intervention HIV test survey, 85% of youth reported that consistent condom or barrier use was now more important to them. Seventy percent of youth reported that they were planning to communicate with their partner about condom use, sexual history, and HIV testing.
- Social media is a useful outreach tool. The grantee reported that there have been 41,686 views of the 101 HIV/AIDS-related videos posted on YouTube.
Identified Best Practices
- Use of evidence-based curricula. The POWER program utilized two evidenced-based curricula, Street Smart and Community PROMISE in order to provide HIV/AIDS education and outreach. An evidence-based curriculum that has been validated in multiple settings over multiple years, and that can be replicated in a similar population eliminates wasting resourcing on developing and implementing a new curriculum or intervention. This program was able to leverage known and successful resources appropriate for their target population in order to reach more youth in their community.
- Pairing evidence-based practices together. This program not only implemented evidence-based curricula, the grantee was methodical and systematic in what curricula to select and utilize. Therefore, the POWER program selected one individual-level curriculum focused on one-on-one youth education and prevention, as well as one community-level curriculum focused on large group and community HIV/AIDS education and prevention. The two complementary approaches were merged together and used as one unified approach to expand the depth of education, as well as the reach of education.
- Leveraging existing partnerships. Utilizing an existing partnership with Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington (PPMW) allowed the POWER program to expand educational reach while consolidating resources. PPMW was the POWER program's primary partner in the CHAT demonstration and was responsible for rolling out Community PROMISE, the community-level HIV intervention and education program, to reach CHAT's target audience. Additionally, the POWER Program also partnered with Protein Media, a media and technology firm based in Washington, D.C. with a history of social service interventions that target youth. Protein Media was responsible for coordinating the technical marketing and outreach of the Sasha Bruce Network's CHAT intervention. More specifically, Protein Media provided technical assistance and trained the peer educators on how to use social networking sites and video to promote sexual health and wellness. This was especially important as this tactic alleviated this time- and resource-intensive role from the core project staff.
National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities Goals
- Leadership: Strengthen and broaden leadership for addressing health disparities at all levels.
- Health System and Life Experience: Improve health and health care outcomes for racial and ethnic minorities and for underserved populations and communities.
Related Healthy People 2020 Objectives & Subobjectives
- AHS-6.2 Reduce the proportion of persons who are unable to obtain or delay in obtaining medical care
- HIV-3 Reduce the rate of HIV transmission among adolescents and adults
- HIV-4 Reduce new AIDS cases among adolescents and adults
- HIV-5 Reduce new AIDS cases among adolescent and adult heterosexuals
- HIV-13 Increase the proportion of people living with HIV who know their serostatus
- HIV-14.4 Increase the proportion of adolescents and young adults who have been tested for HIV in the past 12 months
- HIV-17.1 Increase the proportion of sexually active unmarried females aged 15 to 44 years who use condoms
- HIV-17.2 Increase the proportion of sexually active unmarried males aged 15 to 44 years who use condoms
- ECBP-2.7 Increase the proportion of elementary, middle, and senior high schools that provide comprehensive school health education in order to prevent unintended pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, and STD infection
- ECBP-3.1 Increase the proportion of elementary, middle, and senior high schools that have health education goals or objectives which address the comprehension of concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention (knowledge)
- ECBP-3.2 Increase the proportion of elementary, middle, and senior high schools that have health education goals or objectives which address accessing valid information and health promoting products and services (skills)
- ECBP-4.7 Increase the proportion of elementary, middle, and senior high schools that provide school health education on the importance of health screenings and checkups to promote personal health and wellness
- ECBP-7.7 Increase the proportion of college and university students who receive information from their institution on unintended pregnancy
- ECBP-7.8 Increase the proportion of college and university students who receive information from their institution on HIV/AIDS and STD infection