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Up-Close and Personal: An Evaluation of the American Red Cross Partners for Youth Program

This report is an evaluation of the American Red Cross’ Partners for Youth program as implemented in twelve Philadelphia middle schools. This program is based on the principle that service learning can be an empowering experience for ‘at-risk’ urban youth. The authors consider three research questions: 1) What does the program look like as it unfolds across Philadelphia middle schools? 2) How does Partners for Youth change how middle school students view themselves and their communities? 3) How does Partners for Youth enhance and develop program goals of participating schools? It is shown that the program successfully promotes the social and emotional development of young adolescents. The researchers incorporate perspectives of students, facilitators, and teachers and administrators in their findings and offer recommendations on how the American Red Cross and the participating schools can work together to enhance the value of Partners for Youth.