Witness for Change: Observations from Fast Forward Youth's First Year at the Southside Boys and Girls Club Using a Participatory Research Approach

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Peace and Conflict Studies | Psychology | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Stephen Stelzner, Psychology; Kelly Kraemer, Peace Studies


The Fast Forward Youth Program (FFYP) is a program at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University whose principal goal is to increase college participation rates of its participants. Originally, FFYP worked only with Latino/a youth and used tutoring and mentoring strategies to achieve their goal. However, Fast Forward has shifted its programming to utilize new methods focusing around college preparation instead of tutoring with its participants. The program is also opening up a new site at the Southside boys and Girls Club in St. Cloud. The programming at the Southside site will be unique because it will be FFYP's first time working in a non-school setting, and with a predominately Somali population. My research with the FFYP will take place at the Southside site where I will be investigating through participatory research the challenges and successes of bringing the program to the Southside Club. In particular, I want to examine the new programming focus within the context of the Southside Club's specific population and see if they seem to be compatible and effective for the youth.