Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Marsha Lynn Spence

Committee Members

Sarah E. Colby, Katherine F. Kavanagh, Laurie L. Meschke


This study examined the impact of a program with positive youth development combined with nutrition education and youth advocacy, Youth Can! Improve their Communities (n=7). The curriculum for this program was created by combining three previously used curricula, Youth Can!, the Mikva Challenge, and Michigan Model for Health. The eight-week summer program intended to increase nutrition knowledge, community engagement, and self-efficacy, assessed via pre- and post-test surveys. The results indicated that Youth Can! Improve their Communities significantly increased nutrition knowledge (t = 3.422, df = 6, p = 0.014), but not community engagement activities, community engagement beliefs, nor self-efficacy. Since Youth Can! Improve their Communities was a pilot program, the findings will aid in the development of improved programming and evaluation for this population.

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