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Program Profile: Woodrock Youth Development Program

Evidence Rating: Promising - One study Promising - One study

Date: This profile was posted on December 30, 2013

Program Summary

A combination of intervention strategies, including peer mentoring and support systems, to prevent substance abuse among at-risk and racially diverse youth. This program is rated Promising. It was associated with significantly less drug use among both younger and older youth in the program.

Program Description

Program Goals/Target Population
The Woodrock Youth Development Program was a combination of intervention strategies and support systems to prevent substance abuse among at-risk and racially diverse youth. The program incorporated psychosocial family and community supports, human relations, skill-building workshops, and drug-resistance trainings to raise awareness of and reduce incidences of substance abuse, promote healthy attitudes, improve the quality of race relations, and develop self-esteem.

Program Activities/Key Personnel
The Woodrock Youth Development Program consisted of four main components. They included:
  1. human-relations and life-skills classes
  2. peer mentoring
  3. extracurricular activities
  4. family, school, and community supports.

Each component was selected to develop life skills and drug-use resistance through direct education.

Human-Relations and Life-Skills Classes
Classes were conducted by youth advocates. Youth advocates were selected based on their representation of different racial, ethnic, and gender backgrounds. Activities focused on raising awareness of the dangers of substance use. Various curriculum units were titled:

  1. Drug Involvement and Awareness
  2. Self-Identity
  3. Communication
  4. Stereotypes and Prejudice
  5. Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity.
Peer Mentoring
Ten peer mentors, comprised of high school students from area schools, implemented the after-school program. The peer mentors served as positive role models who provided tutoring or homework help to individual students after school. Mentors monitored youth on an individual basis during this time.

Extracurricular Activities
Activities were voluntary and designed to improve academic performance, provide creative outlets, teach about other people and environments, and develop positive interpersonal relationships outside of school. Clubs promoted self-esteem and students were encouraged to develop their own skills by focusing on their achievements. Activities also included weekend retreats at Woodrock’s Training Center.

Family, School, and Community Supports
Woodrock youth advocates would meet regularly with students’ teachers and help them establish goals that were challenging yet realistic. Staff also worked with parents to establish trust in the program. Staff worked on building communication and ensured high levels of parental involvement by conducting frequent home visits throughout the year. Parents participated in monthly parenting classes (offered both in English and Spanish). The classes covered topics such as improving parent and child communication, building children’s self-esteem, improving parent and school relations, and planning summer activities for children. The program also acted as a referral source for parents when specific needs would arise.

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1
Younger Subsample
In the younger subsample, behavioral measures of drug use indicated that the Woodrock Youth Development Program significantly impacted drug use in the last month. Compared to younger youth in the control group, younger youth in the experimental group reported significantly less drug use in the last month.

There were also slightly higher self-esteem scores and healthier attitudes regarding alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs (ATOD) in the experimental group. However, these trends were not statistically significant.

Older Subsample
Older youth in the experimental group also showed significantly reduced levels of drug use in the last month compared to older youth in the control group. However, there was no significant effect on levels of self-esteem and attitudes toward ATOD.
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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
The evaluation of the Woodrock Youth Development Program by LoSciuto and colleagues (1997) used a randomized pretest-posttest control-group design to test the effectiveness of the multi-level program. The cohort design of 367 students (130 in the experimental group, 237 in the control group) was 46.9 percent female and racially diverse (44.4 percent Latino, 19.9 percent White, 11.4 percent African American, 11.2 percent Asian American, 9.3 percent mixed or “other,” and 1.9 percent American Indian).

Participants, who were grade-school students between the ages of 6 and 14, were divided into separate age groups by a median split within the age distribution. Analysis was divided up into two groups: 1) Younger subsample (age 6 through 9), and 2) Older subsample (age 10 through 14).

The evaluation began in four public schools in the Kensington area of Philadelphia, Pa., in November 1994. Questionnaires assessing each of the six outcomes variables and demographic characteristics were administered at the beginning of the school year and again in June 1995.

The Woodrock questionnaire was created to measure students’ attitudes and/or behaviors in the following domains:
  1. self-esteem
  2. race relations and ethnocentrism
  3. alcohol, tobacco, and other drug (ATOD) use within the past year
  4. ATOD use within the last month
  5. knowledge of harmful effects of drugs and alcohol
  6. attitudes about the use of drugs and alcohol
Responses were coded so numerical scores were aligned with labels for each scale.

Self-esteem was measured using items from the Hartert Self-Perception Profile for Children. Knowledge and attitude toward ATOD use were measured using several scales from the CSAP Knowledge, Attitude, and Behavior Instrument. Race relations and ethnocentrism were constructed specifically for the evaluation. Changes in the mean scores on the outcome measures were compared from pretest to posttest, controlling for preexisting differences in pretest scores, using the statistical technique of analysis of covariance (ANCOVA).
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There is no cost information available for this program.
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Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Study 1
LoSciuto, Leonard, Mark A. Freeman, Evan Harrington, Brian Altman, and Alden Lanphear. 1997. “An Outcome Evaluation of the Woodrock Youth Development Project.” The Journal of Early Adolescence 17(1):51–66
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Additional References

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Durlake, Joseph A., Rebecca D. Taylor, Kei Kawashima, Molly K. Pachan, Emily P. DuPre, Christine I. Celio, Sasha R. Berger, Allison B. Dymnicki and Roger P. Weissberg. 2007. “Effects of Positive Youth Development Porgrams on School, Family, and Community Systems.” American Journal of Community Psychology 39:269–286.

LoSciuto, Leonard, Susan M. Hilbert, Margaretta M. Fox, Lorraine Porcellini, and Alden Lanphear. 1999. “A Two-Year Evaluation of the Woodrock Youth Development Project.” Journal of Early Adolescence 19(4):488–507. (This study was reviewed but did not meet criteria for inclusion in the overall program rating.)
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Program Snapshot

Age: 6 - 14

Gender: Both

Race/Ethnicity: Black, American Indians/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, White, Other

Geography: Suburban, Urban

Setting (Delivery): School

Program Type: Academic Skills Enhancement, Classroom Curricula, Leadership and Youth Development, Mentoring, Parent Training, School/Classroom Environment, Alcohol and Drug Prevention

Current Program Status: Not Active

Listed by Other Directories: Model Programs Guide