The ACT – or Assets Coming Together – for Youth Center of Excellence sponsors a Youth Network in New York City for young people who are interested in making change and supporting the health and well‐being of youth in New York state.
The ACT Youth Network ‐ NYC is a panel of young adult and teen consultants who meet monthly to provide youth perspectives on health‐related projects for the New York State Department of Health, the ACT Center of Excellence, and other organizations.
The ACT – or Assets Coming Together – for Youth Center of Excellence, was launched in 2000 with generous support from the New York State Department of Health, and is a partnership among Cornell University Cooperative Extension – New York City, Cornell’s Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research – or BCTR – the New York State Center for School Safety, and the University of Rochester Medical Center.
The Center promotes positive youth outcomes and works to reduce risky sexual behavior among youth by advancing the principles of positive youth development and supporting the implementation and evaluation of evidence-based programming.
The Center houses the ACT Youth Network, which serves as a channel for youth voice, particularly in regard to health. The ACT Youth Network is available for consultation on health projects that seek to reach youth. For more information, see the ACT Youth Network brochure here.
The 4-H CHAT program is a collaborative initiative of Cornell Cooperative Extension’s 4-H youth development program and Cornell University’s Division of Nutritional Sciences that integrates youth civic engagement into efforts to encourage healthy lifestyles among youth by engaging teens in teaching healthy eating and active living to younger youth.
Training – conducted by nutrition and 4-H staff members – is provided to educators and/or youth workers to recruit, train and mentor local teens to be “CHATs”, who then teach or co-teach the newly developed nutrition curriculum, Choose Health: Food, Fun, and Fitness (CHFFF).
The Choose Health: Food, Fun, and Fitness (CHFFF) curriculum is aimed at 8- to 12-year-olds and targets those behaviors research shows to be most important for preventing childhood obesity and chronic disease. It also supports the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and USDA’s MyPlate initiative.
The curriculum uses experiential learning to teach healthy eating and active play, and was written using the “4 A” dialogue approach for more effective retention and application of information and skills.
Each lesson also includes interactive nutrition activities, food preparation, active games, a goal setting challenge, and a family newsletter. Lessons are scripted to clarify intended content and to make them easy to lead, but facilitators are encouraged to use their own words.
The Talking with Kids about HIV/AIDS project was developed by Cornell University in 1989 as a prevention education resource for parents and guardians. Parents and guardians are often the primary health educators of children and teens, but sometimes need support to feel comfortable and confident communicating about HIV-related issues.
The project works to support parents, guardians and other adults to communicate accurate HIV-related information to children and teens in sensitive, age-appropriate, and developmentally appropriate ways. The goal of the project is to help save lives by reducing new HIV infections among young people.
The workshops include basic information on the HIV/AIDS epidemic and its impact, skills development in HIV risk assessment and risk reduction, and extensive parent-child communication activities.
The Talking with Kids about HIV/AIDS Teaching Guide gives detailed descriptions of the workshop activities. Over 3,500 volunteer parent educators have reached over 100,000 people with learning activities, primarily through Cornell Cooperative Extension Associations in New York State. The Talking with Kids about HIV/AIDS curriculum is available in both English and Spanish.