Abstract

Sexually transmitted disease transmission, dating violence, trafficking, and unplanned pregnancy disproportionately afflict disadvantaged African American adolescents, and social services to effectively remedy this crisis need improvement. Moreover, disadvantaged African American adolescents have been significantly underrepresented in mental health, social services, and best practices research, so existing evidence-based practice models are insufficiently inclusive of these adolescents’ perspectives. As a remedy, this study describes a formative evaluation of a youth-led, participatory action–based summer and after-school program, Love Your Love Life. Over eight successive semesters, 155 African American adolescents authored instructional materials including a guide to dating, a documentary, a workbook, a PowerPoint presentation, social media messages, and skits, and then led seminars for their peers. The highly engaged adolescents contributed valuable information about their strengths, challenges, and preferences, and suggested improvements to make sexual and romantic health curricula more relevant for their peers.

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