Unfortunately, effective services and supports are unavailable to many children and youth, such as those whose families are poor, those who belong to ethnic or racial minorities, and those who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or Queer. Youth who belong to these groups are often described as underserved.
Those services and supports that are available to underserved youth are also often difficult for these youth to access, frequently provided in manner that is unengaging to these youth, and tend to be less effective among underserved youth than among youth who do not belong to underserved groups. For these reasons, some of the youth who experience the most need are also the least likely to receive services and supports that can help them.
We use two strategies to ensure that all youth can access effective services and supports. First, we study how to sustainably implement these services and supports in the settings where underserved youth go for help. This often involves adapting services and supports to make them more responsive to the needs of these youth, more accessible to them, and more engaging. Second, we study how to quickly identify and evaluate innovative solutions that communities develop in response to the needs of underserved youth. We implement both strategies in partnership with community organizations that have a history of working successfully with underserved children and youth.
If this introduction to our goals, strategies and approach interests you, please take the time to learn more about our work, and to support it by sharing it with others who may also be interested in it. There is an introductory list with some of our published work at the foot of this post.
You can also support our work by getting involved in it. If you are an undergraduate student, consider applying to our Undergraduate Scholars program, which offers project involvement, and mentoring focused on selecting and applying to graduate programs. Graduate or professional students are involved as Graduate Assistants or Interns. Community members participate through the many community organizations that we are partnered with.
Finally, you can--if you'd like--support our work by making a donation. If you’d like to learn more about our work than what we covered in this introduction, or if you’d like to support us in any way, please contact us. We love to hear from others who also believe that all young people who are taking action be successful deserve support.
An Introductory Community-AID Reading List:
1.Toward a Relevant Psychology of Prejudice, Stereotyping and Discrimination: Linking Science and Practice to Develop Interventions that work in Community Settings. In A. Alvarex, C. Liang, & H.A. Neville (Eds), The Cost of Racism for People of Color: Contextualizing Experiences of Discrimination (pp. 317-338). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association Press.
2. Acevedo-Polakovich, I.D., Kassah, V.S., & Barnett, M.L. (2012). Las Asociaciones entre la Academia y la Communidad como de Transformacion Social Sustentable (Community-Academic Partnerships as a Source of Sustainable Social Change). In N.N. Asili (Ed.), Vida Sustentable (pp.236-253). Puebla, Mexico: Universidad de las Americas Press.
3.Domenech Rodriguez, M. M. & Acevedo-Polakovich, I. D. (2008, Fall/Winter). Community Defined Evidence: Building confidence in our science and practice. El Boletín, 11-12.
4.Isaacs et al. (2008). Services for Youth and their Families in Diverse Communities. In B.A. Stroul & G.M. Blau (Eds.), The System of Care Handbook: Transforming Mental Health Services for Children, Youth, and Families (pp. 619-639). Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.