May 2016: OAH Picks: Summer Opportunities for Youth
In 2014, about nine percent of youth ages 16-19 were neither working nor in school. Connecting these young people to work, service, or program activities may change the direction of their lives and, potentially, the lives of those around them.
The Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing recently released a new report on the forces shaping adolescent health around the world. The report's four key messages encourage investments toward adolescents' current and long-term well-being; helping adolescents engage with their communities; collaboration across sectors to reduce inequities; and ensuring that all sectors serving youth adapt to rapid cultural, social, and economic change. In the spirit of these themes, the following tips and resources can help engage adolescents and young adults in summer opportunities to foster their healthy development.
- Connect youth to work experiences. Spring is a great time for adolescents to explore jobs and internships that are available to them once the school year is over. Programs like AmeriCorps, Upward Bound, and Registered Apprenticeships provide teens and young adults with work-based learning and leadership opportunities, as well as fundamental support as they enter the workforce.
- Instill a spirit of service in youth. Youth volunteerism and participation in mentorship programs are associated with a number of positive outcomes, including decreased rates of truancy, depressive symptoms, and drug use, and increases in positive academic attitudes and grades. Research suggests that mentoring may help youth with disabilities transition into the workplace and adulthood. Check out OAH's resources for teens on how to get involved in service-learning opportunities and volunteer programs.
- Encourage youth to participate in out-of-school time programs. Particularly in the summer months, out-of-school time programs can address learning loss issues while tapping into youth's interests across multiple sectors. From faith-based retreats to STEM summer camps, these programs offer supportive and engaging activities for youth to explore their leadership and pre-employment skills outside of school. Learn more about summer learning loss, as well as best practices for summer learning programs and other summer learning resources.
- Connect youth to health services. During the summer months, young people may have more time to catch up on their healthcare needs. MyHealthFinder is an easy-to-use interactive tool and the authoritative go-to resource for evidence-based guidance on recommended preventive services, including those for adolescents and young adults. Also make sure to check out OAH's action steps and resources on fostering adolescent-friendly facilities to ensure meaningful engagement and more responsible health systems for youth.
For more information on promoting adolescent engagement and health throughout the year, check out the action steps and resources in our call-to-action, Adolescent Health: Think, Act, Grow℠ (TAG) and don’t forget about our Adolescent Health Library, which provides adolescent health resources from the federal government.
See a full infographic from the Lancet report
Content last reviewed on February 22, 2017