Teen Outreach Program®
Teen Outreach Program (TOP)® is an evidence-based youth development program that promotes positive academic and personal outcomes for youth through curriculum-guided group discussions, small group activities, and community service learning. The program provides teens with the necessary supports and opportunities to prepare for successful adulthood and avoid self-defeating behavior. The model was developed by Wyman, which oversees its implementation, routinely collects data from projects, and trains replication partners. Youth Catalytics is a Wyman-certified replication partner, which enables us to create our own TOP® network, train facilitators to work with youth, and take on direct data-gathering responsibilities.
Multiple randomized control studies show that TOP® results in:
- 53% lower risk of teen pregnancy
- 60% lower risk of course failure
- 52% lower risk of school suspension
The Model and How It Works
|Who TOP® Targets
TOP® is for young people between the ages of 12 and 19, including young people in foster care, youth who are pregnant or parenting, and youth receiving services for emotional and/or behavioral disorders. Youth in TOP® meet in small groups, known as TOP® Clubs. Youth can join a Club up to age 18.
|The TOP® Structure
TOP® Clubs meet once weekly for at least nine consecutive months, or twice a week for at least four consecutive months. The Clubs are facilitated by trained adult instructors, usually employees of the Youth Catalytics TOP® Provider. Most Clubs use only one facilitator, though some Clubs for high-need youth use two.
|The TOP® Curriculum
TOP® provides four age-appropriate curricula that focus on values clarification; relationships; communication/assertiveness; influence; decision-making; goal-setting; human development and sexuality; and community service learning. Facilitators may choose lessons from any of the four levels based on the developmental needs of young people in the Club. They sequence the lessons based on the needs and interests of young people in each group.TOP® is an ‘abstinence-plus’ model, which means that abstinence is presented as the only 100% way to avoid pregnancy. Facilitators also present medically accurate information on human sexual development, sexually transmitted infections, and all forms of contraception.Human sexuality makes up approximately 10-15% of the curriculum. The rest of the curriculum focuses on positive youth development topics. PYD models have a well-established positive impact on youth outcomes, reducing the risk of pregnancy and school drop-out.
TOP® has been demonstrated to reduce the likelihood of teen pregnancy, course failure and school suspension, and has an observed impact on school dropout rates. It has been demonstrated to improve: ability to build and maintain positive relationships; critical thinking and forming high standards and integrity; communication and assertiveness skills; goal setting and self-evaluation; problem-solving, decision-making and setting priorities; confidence, persistence and sense of self; self-discipline, time management and balance; and ability to evaluate, integrate and choose healthy behaviors in various social circumstances.
|What Makes It Work
The quality of volunteer service learning experiences and the creation of emotionally safe environments that foster autonomy and peer relatedness are directly related to TOP® successes.
Bringing TOP® to Your Organization
TOP® has been named a best practice by:
Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention
The Rand Corporation
The Brookings Institution
Advocates for Youth
Harvard Family Research Project
National Academy of Science
American Youth Policy Forum
National Center on Secondary Education and Transition
National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
National Collaboration for Youth
Mathematica Policy Research
Youth Catalytics is a Wyman Certified Replication Partner, and therefore directly works with organizations to bring the model to their young people.
The model can be run in a variety of settings, and is appropriate for any organization that has consistent contact with young people. By implementing this evidence-based model, organizations effectively demonstrate to stakeholders and funders their investment in excellence and sustainability.
TOP® programs meet either twice weekly for four consecutive months, or once weekly for nine consecutive months. The implementation requires consistent staffing by professionals who have successfully completed the three-day TOP® Training of Facilitators. Youth Catalytics provides the Training of Facilitators and additional fee-based training. Youth Catalytics helps organizations collect required data for monitoring and evaluation purposes.
What We Do
- We assess whether the model is a good fit for your young people and organization.
- We train your organization in the TOP® model and facilitation practices.
- Once trained, Club Facilitators (who will be your employees) run Clubs with teens; collect teen survey data; complete fidelity monitoring surveys for each session; and submit biannual Facilitator Surveys on fidelity and process evaluation.
- We monitor the data collection; visit TOP® Clubs at least annually for observation; identify and meet any further professional development needs for Club Facilitators; and provide biannual fidelity and annual outcomes feedback to you.
The Benefits to You
- Using this federally recognized Comprehensive Youth Development Model proves to funders your ability to meet positive youth development expectations.
- We will coordinate data collection and analysis and provide you with reports on TOP® outcomes with youth. Your organization can use this data for promotion and awareness-raising in the community.
- Working with Youth Catalytics demonstrates your willingness and ability to collaborate effectively with other nonprofits, a requirement of most federal grants.
- TOP® is an evidence-based model with a strong evaluation and replication history. Using it indicates to stakeholders your seriousness in offering the highest-quality programs to young people.
Would you like more information? Contact Youth Catalytics Training Director Cindy Carraway-Wilson.