JLPSS Students Assist in Assessing Resilient Youth Program

Criminal Justice Students Assist in Assessing Resilient Youth Program

Published: August 11, 2023.

Lewis University students enrolled in Dr. Hannah Klein’s Criminal Justice Research Method course will be helping to evaluate a new mental health resiliency program launching in Will County school districts this fall, Resilient Youth.

The Resilient Youth program will potentially reach over 26,000 students in grades K-12, representing communities across Will County, Illinois with daily coping and stress management skills to develop emotional resilience in times of adversity. The program is made possible through the United Way of Will County, which received $884,000 in funding in February for a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration initiative from the Congressional Directive Spending Project Services Administration of Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL). Will County provided additional funding through an allocation of the American Rescue Plan Act funds.

Smart Health, Wellness and Performance (Smart HWP), an organization that impacts lives with resilience, enhanced personal performance, and mindfulness training in youth, will lead the training and implementation of the Resilient Youth program in Will County school districts for the 2023-24 school year. Dr. Pete Sullivan, assistant professor of Educational Leadership at the University of St. Francis will manage the initiative.

Dr. Klein, assistant professor of Justice, Law, and Public Safety Studies and assistant director of the Center for Community Research & Education (CCRE) at Lewis University, is serving as the primary investigator for the evaluation of the program. Dr. Spencer Campbell, assistant professor of psychology, will be assisting with the evaluation as well.

This year, the Lewis University group will evaluate all participating schools which will incorporate teacher surveys and conversations with families. Initial findings from the first cohort of schools will be used to better inform implementation at future schools across Will County and nationwide.

“I’m grateful this opportunity came to my attention through my work with the CCRE at Lewis University,” said Dr. Klein. “My Criminal Justice Research Method students will learn evaluation methods firsthand as they participate in the evaluation process as a community-engaged learning activity.”

Lewis University is an innovative Catholic university offering market-relevant undergraduate and graduate programs to 6,500 students. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis University is nationally recognized for preparing intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, and globally-connected graduates who impact the world for the better. Visit www.lewisu.edu for further information.

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