An Evaluation of the Positive Action Program for Youth Violence Prevention: From Schools to Summer Camps

Megha M. Patel, Jessica L. Liddell, Regardt J. Ferreira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


New Orleans has experienced some of the highest per capita rates of homicide in the nation. In response, the City of New Orleans developed the NOLA FOR LIFE murder reduction strategy, one aspect of which is the implementation of Positive Action, a character building program for youth. The Positive Action program has offered promising results for curbing youth violence when implemented in school-based settings. However, given the city’s mostly charter-based school system, summer camps are among the few entry points available through which to implement city-wide youth initiatives. During the 2016 summer camp session, an evaluation was conducted to determine whether incorporating the Positive Action curriculum into a 6-week summer camp results in youth experiencing positive changes in peer self-esteem, the ability to get along with others, bullying behavior, and normative beliefs about aggression. This evaluation compares youth that received the Positive Action curriculum during summer camp with those that received the traditional summer camp curriculum. A multi-method approach of quantitative pre-and post-surveys of youth and focus group interviews with camp teachers were employed. Results from the quantitative data suggest few statistically significant findings, while qualitative data suggests that Positive Action may be effective at reducing violent norms and behavior. Implications for social workers and the need for adapting school-based violence reduction interventions for non-traditional settings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)519-530
Number of pages12
JournalChild and Adolescent Social Work Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018


  • Behavior change
  • Curriculum evaluation
  • Positive Action
  • Summer camps
  • Violence prevention
  • Youth violence


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