Teen Outreach Program (TOP)

Program Overview

Developer(s)

Original Developer: Brenda Hostetler

Model Developer and Purveyor: Wyman

Program Summary

The Teen Outreach Program (TOP) promotes the positive development of adolescents through curriculum-guided, interactive group discussions; positive adult guidance and support; and community service learning. TOP is focused on key topics related to adolescent health and development, including healthy relationships, communication, influence, goal-setting, decision making, values clarification, community service learning, and adolescent development and sexuality. The development of supportive relationships with adult facilitators is a crucial part of the model, as are relationships with other peers in the program.

Target Population

The program was designed for disadvantaged and high-risk youth in grades 9 to 12. Suggested target population also includes middle school youth in grades 6 to 8. The program has been evaluated with African American, Latino, and White middle and high school youth.

Program Setting

The program was designed to be implemented in the school or after school setting as well as in the community for the service learning component. The program was evaluated in middle and high school settings, and in after-school and community-based settings.

Contact and Availability Information

For curriculum, materials, and pricing information, please contact:

Wyman Center
600 Kiwanis Drive
St. Louis, MO 63025
Ph: 636-549-1238
Website: www.wymancenter.org

For training and support, please contact:

See above

Sample of curriculum available for review prior to purchase: Yes

Adaptation guidelines or kit available: Yes

Languages available: English and Spanish

Program Components

Program Objectives

TOP seeks to enhance positive youth development. The three primary objectives are:

  1. Healthy Behaviors: To promote the development of healthy behaviors and self-care so teens can avoid risk and successfully achieve an education and other life goals.
  2. Life Skills: To support the acquisition of valuable life skills in areas of relationships, communication, decision-making, etc., that are needed to be healthy, self-sustaining young adults.
  3. Sense of Purpose: To provide teens with a sense of purpose, increasing knowledge of their own worth as they contribute to their communities through meaningful service. A strong sense of purpose is linked to lower rates of risky behaviors.

Program Content

The guiding principles of TOP include continuity of the program over time, weekly group discussions and activities with high teen talk-time, youth-initiated community service learning, and connections with a skilled, caring adult. The curriculum is designed to be interactive and engaging, and cover a wide variety of developmental topics of interest to teens. Core curriculum content includes:

  • Relationships: To explore and examine the factors of pro-social relationships, including dynamics of healthy relationships, friendships, family, and romantic relationships; conflict resolution; recognition of and response to peer pressure; and maintaining healthy boundaries.
  • Communication/Assertiveness: To review, practice and apply pro-social communication skills, including active listening, assertive communication, nonverbal communication; how to say “no” and refuse a request; the use of “I” messages; and how to utilize personal and community resources to meet their needs.
  • Influence: To develop critical thinking skills about the various influences on their lives and decisions, including peer pressure and media messages.
  • Goal-Setting: To enhance teens’ sense of future orientation through practicing goal identification; understanding short-term versus long-term goals; exploring their future options; thinking about plans for life after high school; and discussing the potential impact of teen parenting on their future plans.
  • Decision-Making: To examine social-emotional aspects of choices and consequences; practice using decision-making tools; and reflect upon recent decisions they have made.
  • Values Clarification: To explore and challenge their own values, the impact of gender roles on values, the values of family and friends, and the impact of the larger society on their value formation.
  • Development and Human Sexuality: To learn about adolescent development (emotional and physical) and human sexuality from a holistic perspective. The curriculum provides information on abstinence as the safest way to avoid becoming pregnant/or fathering a child and to remain free of sexually transmitted diseases.

    Information on the reproductive process and contraception is also provided to enable teens to make informed choices about their sexual activity.  Note:  Programs can determine if they will use a comprehensive sexuality education approach, or an abstinence-only approach.
  • Community Service Learning: To develop a sense of competence and self-efficacy through community service learning. Teens identify needs, plan and implement service projects, and reflect on their service experience.

TOP is grounded in a Positive Youth Development theoretical framework, which focuses on enhancement and promotion of adolescent well-being. A program logic model is available from the developer.

Program Methods

The program is facilitated using the experiential learning cycle, multiple intelligences, service learning, and the "Quad-A" approach where facilitators are adaptable, age-appropriate, affective, and active.

Implementation Requirements and Guidance

Program Structure and Timeline

TOP is delivered primarily through: 1) The Changing Scenes curriculum; and 2) Community Service Learning.

Both components are delivered over a nine-month school year. The Changing Scenes curriculum is divided into four separate levels. Sessions from different levels can be mixed throughout the year for TOP Clubs based on their needs. The levels are as follows:

  • Level 1: Focused on youth ages 12 to 13.
  • Level 2: Focused on youth age 14.
  • Level 3: Focused on youth ages 15 to 16.
  • Level 4: Focused on youth age 17 and older.

Other implementation requirements for Certified Replication Partners are:

  • Clubs meet at least once per week with a TOP trained facilitator and must offer at least 25 meetings in total.
  • Youth in the clubs must participate in at least 20 hours of community service learning.
  • Clubs maintain a 1:25 trained facilitator to teen ratio.
  • Replication partners create and use a written quality assurance plan.
  • Wyman will visit each Certified TOP Replication Partner in the first year and every other year thereafter.

Staffing

TOP facilitators must be trained adults who have proven success in teen and family interactions, the ability to establish and sustain positive rapport with youth of all ages and diverse backgrounds, and can cultivate and maintain relationships with partner sites.

TOP coordinators must be trained adults who have proven success in adult learning, workshop delivery or training and in-depth knowledge of the stages of adolescent/teen development and positive approaches to behavior management in a group setting.

Program Materials and Resources

Wyman provides the following tools and resources for delivery of TOP:

  • Four-level curriculum packaged in separate modules for each age/developmental level
  • Community service learning guide
  • Training of facilitators participant guide
  • Training of trainers training guide
  • Partner design scenarios
  • Research to practice white papers
  • An e-newsletter with latest trends and best practices
  • Access to annual symposium content on youth development
  • Webinars and communities of practice designed to extend learnings and program impact
  • A grant portal to find additional funding to enable partners to extend the scope and resources for TOP
  • Website providing additional program resources and electronic access to all training content and  updates 
  • Wyman Connect, a comprehensive online data system that facilitates collection, management and use of pre and post survey data and teen participation data, including access to reports and a dashboard.
  • Facilitator Institutes and Coordinator Institutes to extend the expertise around TOP implementation

Additional Needs for Implementation

  • Internet access is recommended to allow partners to utilize online resources including Wyman Connect, and to enhance student exploration of community service learning options, etc. 
  • Access to transportation facilitates completion of community service learning opportunities.

Fidelity

Wyman provides a detailed Certification Packet to partners, which outlines fidelity standards. Wyman Connect provides an online data system for tracking implementation and fidelity-related data.

Training and Staff Support

Staff Training:

TOP is replicated through a Certified Replication Partner process, which is designed to help partners provide TOP at a large scale within their communities. Through this process, Wyman maintains an on-going training, technical assistance, and network support relationship with partners.

Once an organization applies to become a Certified Replication Partner, the organization identifies its coordinator (the person assuming responsibility for overall implementation of TOP) , who completes a 5-day TOP Training of Trainers module. This equips the coordinator to train others in their organization or network to implement TOP, and ensures their full understanding of the fidelity standards and process. The coordinator then trains TOP facilitators (those who will directly implement the program with teens) through a 2 ½ day TOP Training of Facilitators. Trainings of Trainers are held at Wyman headquarters on a quarterly basis. A Training of Trainers may also be conducted at a partner site with sufficient enrollment.

The start-up package to become a Certified Replication Partner is $28,000. This includes space for a coordinator to attend Training of Trainer at Wyman Institute (travel and other costs not included), up to 10 sets of curriculum, an initial year’s license, access to Wyman’s TOP National Network, start-up technical assistance and access to communities of practice and webinars Wyman conducts over the year. Additional Training of Trainer slots can be added for $6,000. Wyman can also provide Training of Facilitators for partners at $850/facilitator. Additional curriculum is available for $500/curriculum set. A specific training package is worked out with each partner to best meet their needs. After the start-up year, partners pay a fee of $7,000 annually for ongoing support.

Technical Assistance and Ongoing Support:

TOP Partners are assigned a dedicated Partner Services Representative from Wyman to provide technical assistance, supplemental trainings, and additional resources that are needed to help support the partner in their replication of the Teen Outreach Program.

Allowable Adaptations

Wyman actively works with partners on adaptations of the program. They are particularly interested in supporting adaptations that support the needs of youth at highest risk, and for populations not previously served by TOP. Wyman considers implementations shorter than 9 months in duration to be a minor adaptation as long as youth are provided with the minimum 25 sessions and at least 20 hours of community service learning. All adaptations must receive prior approval; contact Wyman for details on the adaptation request and guidelines process.

Implementation Readiness Assessment

The review team conducted an independent assessment of the program’s readiness for implementation. This assessment is based on the team’s review of available program materials and documents. The team also requested input from program developers and distributors about the availability of implementation materials and resources.

On the basis of this assessment, the team calculated an implementation readiness score comprised of three component scores: (1) curriculum and materials, (2) training and staff support, and (3) fidelity monitoring tools and resources. The component scores are combined into a total score, which ranges from 0 to 8, with higher scores indicating the programs most ready to implement.

Curriculum and Materials

Has defined curriculum with lesson plans and/or activities?Yes
Has defined core or required components?Yes
Has facilitator’s guide or instructions?Yes
Component Score3/3

Training and Staff Support

Formal pre-implementation training (by qualified trainers) available?Yes
Supplemental training or ongoing technical support available?Yes
Component Score2/2

Fidelity Monitoring Tools and Resources

Has defined logic model?Yes
Defines fidelity guidelines and benchmarks?Yes
Offers monitoring and evaluation tools?Yes
Component Score3/3

Total Implementation Readiness Score

8/8

Reviewed Studies

CitationHigh-Quality Randomized TrialModerate-Quality Randomized TrialModerate-Quality Quasi-experimentLow Study RatingDid Not Meet Eligibility Criteria

Allen et al. 1997

Yes    

Allen and Philliber 2001

   Yes 

Daley et al. 2015

Walsh-Buhi et al. 2016

Yes    

Francis et al. 2015

Yes    

Bull et al. 2015

Bull et al. 2016

 Yes   

Crean et al. 2015

Robinson et al. 2016b

 Yes   

Seshadri et al. 2015

 Yes   

Francis et al. 2016

    Yes

Philliber and Philliber 2016

 Yes   

Philliber et al. 2016

Yes    

Robinson et al. 2016a

Robinson et al. 2016b

 Yes   

Notes

Some study entries may include more than one citation because each citation examines a different follow-up period from the same study sample, or because each citation examines a different set of outcome measures on the same study sample.

Study Characteristics

CitationSettingMajority Age GroupMajority Racial/Ethnic GroupGenderSample Size

Allen et al. 1997

In School: High school14 to 17African AmericanBoth695

Allen and Philliber 2001

n.a.n.a.n.a.n.a.n.a.

Daley et al. 2015

Walsh-Buhi et al. 2016

In School: High school14 to 17WhiteBoth2,058

Francis et al. 2015

In School: Middle school13 or youngerAfrican AmericanBoth1,196

Bull et al. 2015

Bull et al. 2016

After school/Community based14 to 17LatinoBoth854

Crean et al. 2015

Robinson et al. 2016b

After school/Community based13 or youngerAfrican AmericanBoth1,188

Seshadri et al. 2015

In School: High school14 to 17African AmericanBoth5,633

Francis et al. 2016

n.a.n.a.n.a.n.a.n.a.

Philliber and Philliber 2016

Evaluation conducted in middle schools and high schools14 to 17African AmericanBoth934

Philliber et al. 2016

Multiple settings: in school and after school.14 to 17WhiteBoth8,662

Robinson et al. 2016a

Robinson et al. 2016b

After school/Community based13 or youngerAfrican AmericanBoth4,769

Notes

Some study entries may include more than one citation because each citation examines a different follow-up period from the same study sample, or because each citation examines a different set of outcome measures on the same study sample.

Information on study characteristics is available only for studies that received a high or moderate rating. Read the description of the review process for more information on how these programs are identified.

Study Findings

CitationDetails

Allen et al. 1997

The program’s evidence of effectiveness was first established in a randomized controlled trial involving high school students in 25 school- and community-based sites across the United States. Within each study site, participants were randomly assigned, either individually or by classroom, to either a treatment group that received the program or a control group that received whatever regular curricula and programs each site provided. Surveys were administered immediately before the program started (baseline) and nine months later at the end of the program.

The study found that at the time of the 9-month follow-up survey, female adolescents participating in the program were significantly less likely to report they had become pregnant during the academic year of the program (odds ratio = 0.41, confidence interval = 0.26 to 0.64). The study did not estimate program impacts on male adolescents’ reports of having caused a pregnancy.

The study also examined program impacts on rates of school suspension and course failure. Findings for these outcomes were not considered for the review because they fell outside the scope of the review.

Allen and Philliber 2001

This quasi-experimental study received a low rating because it did not establish baseline equivalence for the final analysis sample.

Daley et al. 2015

Walsh-Buhi et al. 2016

A more recent study conducted by a separate group of researchers evaluated the program among a sample of 26 Florida high schools. The study randomly assigned schools in matched pairs to either a treatment group that offered the program during the regular school day or a control group that provided the regular school instruction. Surveys were administered before the program started (baseline), immediately after the program ended, and 10 months after the program ended.

Using data for the full sample of male and female adolescents, the study successfully replicated the favorable program impact on pregnancy reported in the earlier study by Allen et al. (1997). In particular, for the follow-up conducted at the end of the program, the study found that students in the treatment group were less likely to report ever having been pregnant (females) or gotten someone pregnant (males), and the reported effect size (odds ratio = 0.58) falls within the confidence interval for the effect size reported in the prior study by Allen et al. (confidence interval = 0.26 to 0.64). The study found a similar pattern of results for the longer-term follow-up survey conducted 10 months after the program ended (odds ratio = 0.51).

The study also found a statistically significant program impact on sexual activity rates. In particular, for the follow-up conducted at the end of the program, the study found that students in the treatment group were statistically significantly less likely to report ever having had sex (odds ratio = 0.84, confidence internal = 0.78 to 0.90). The study found no statistically significant program impact on this outcome for the longer-term follow-up survey conducted 10 months after the program ended.

Francis et al. 2015

A separate recent study evaluated the program among a younger sample of middle- and high-school students in Hennepin County, Minnesota. The study used a cluster randomized controlled trial involving 61 middle and high schools. In each participating school, students were randomly assigned by teacher to either a treatment group that received the program or a control group that provided the regular school instruction. Surveys were administered before the program started (baseline), and again three and 15 months after the program ended.

The study findings failed to replicate the favorable impact on sexual activity rates found in the separate study by Daley et al. (2015). In particular, the study found that students in the treatment group were no less likely than students in the control group to report ever having had sex (odds ratio = 1.33 for the 3-month follow-up survey, odds ratio = 3.14 for the 15-month follow-up survey). The study also examined program impacts on measures of recent sexual activity and recent unprotected sexual activity. The study found no statistically significant impacts on these outcomes for either follow-up survey. The study did not measure program impacts on pregnancy.

Bull et al. 2015

Bull et al. 2016

A different recent study examined the effectiveness of supplementing TOP with a text message program called Youth All Engaged (YAE). YAE consists of five to seven text messages a week while TOP is being delivered, and about three messages per week after TOP ends for 12 weeks. All text messages reinforced the topics covered by TOP and delivered additional teen pregnancy prevention content.

The study evaluated TOP plus YAE using a cluster randomized controlled trial involving 854 adolescents recruited from eight Boys & Girls Clubs in Denver, CO. Randomization of the clubs to either a group receiving TOP plus YAE or a group receiving TOP only was conducted to ensure that within each year of a four year period, four clubs were assigned to each of the study groups. In addition, the study’s researchers required that each club was included in the TOP plus YAE group for two years and in the TOP only group for two years. Randomization for all 32 club-year combinations happened at the beginning of the study. Surveys were administered before the program started (baseline), and again immediately and 12 months after the program ended.

The study findings failed to replicate the favorable impact on pregnancy reported in the earlier studies by Allen et al. (1997) and Daley et al. (2015). In particular, immediately after the program ended, the study found no evidence of favorable impacts of the supplemental texting program (YAE) on ever being pregnant or causing a pregnancy (odds ratio = 1.57). The study also examined program impacts on measures of recent sexual activity with use of condoms or contraceptives. The study found no statistically significant impacts on these outcomes immediately after the program ended. The study did not report findings for the follow-up that was conducted 12 months after the program ended.

Crean et al. 2015

Robinson et al. 2016b

A separate recent study evaluated the program using a cluster randomized controlled trial that involved 1,188 adolescents recruited from recreation centers in Rochester, NY. In each of three years, the study randomly assigned 11 recreation centers to either a treatment group implementing TOP or a control group implementing a workplace competencies program, creating a total of 33 analytic clusters. Surveys were administered before the program started (baseline), and again immediately after the program ended (about nine months after the baseline).

The study findings failed to replicate the favorable impact on sexual activity rates found in the earlier study by Daley et al. (2015). In particular, immediately after the program ended, the study found that adolescents in the group receiving TOP were no less likely than adolescents in the control group to report ever having sex (odds ratio = 0.68). The study also examined program impacts on sexual activity without using an effective method of birth control in the last three months. The study found no statistically significant program impacts on that outcome. The study did not measure program impacts on pregnancy.

Seshadri et al. 2015

This study evaluated the program using a cluster randomized controlled trial that involved 5,633 students in 9th grade in 44 Chicago Public Schools. Schools were randomly assigned either to a group that implemented TOP or to a control group that did not implemented TOP but implemented their standard teen pregnancy and/or STI prevention curricula. The study collected outcome data immediately after the end of the program (about 10 months after the baseline).

The study examined program effects on having sex and having sex without using a condom in the last three months. Immediately after the end of the program, the study found no evidence of statistically significant program impacts on those outcomes.

Francis et al. 2016

This study did not meet the review eligibility criteria.

Philliber and Philliber 2016

Another recent study evaluated the program among a sample of 934 middle and high school students in Kansas City, Missouri. The study used a cluster randomized controlled trial that involved the 98 classrooms of 17 teachers from 12 middle and high schools. Classrooms were randomly assigned to either a treatment group that received TOP or a control group that received the regular classroom curriculum from their existing core content class teachers. Surveys were administered before the program started (baseline), and again 12 months after the program ended.

The study findings failed to replicate the favorable impact on sexual activity rates found in the earlier study by Daley et al. (2015). In particular, 12 months after the end of the program the study found that adolescents in the group receiving TOP were no less likely than adolescents in the control group to report ever having sex (odds ratio = 0.96). The study also found no evidence of statistically significant program impacts on having sexual intercourse without using any method of birth control in the last three months. The study did not measure program impacts on pregnancy.

Philliber et al. 2016

This study evaluated the program using a cluster randomized controlled trial that involved 8,662 adolescents attending schools in five northwestern states (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington). Students were clustered into groups, and the types of groups included school classes, in-school clubs, pull-out, and after-school clubs. Randomization into treatment (receiving TOP) and control (not receiving TOP) conditions was done at the level of those groups of students. The study administered surveys before conducting random assignment (baseline), and again immediately and 12 months after the end of the program.

The study found evidence of mixed program effects. Immediately after the program ended, the study found a positive program impact: the subgroup of male adolescents in the schools that implemented TOP were less likely to report ever causing a pregnancy than their counterparts in schools that did not implement the program (odds ratio = 0.71). For the same time period, the study found evidence of an adverse effect: the subgroup of female adolescents in the treatment schools were more likely than those in the control schools to report having ever been pregnant (odds ratio = 1.27). The study found no significant impacts on pregnancy for the full sample immediately and 12 months after the program ended (odds ratio = 1.13 immediately after the program, odds ratio = 1.15 12 months after the program).   Immediately after the program ended, the study also examined program impacts on recent sexual activity and on having sexual intercourse without using an effective method of birth control in the last three months. The study found no statistically significant program impacts on those outcomes.

Robinson et al. 2016a

Robinson et al. 2016b

A separate recent study evaluated the program using a randomized controlled trial that involved 4,769 adolescents recruited from Community Based Organizations in Louisiana. Adolescents were randomly assigned to either a treatment group that received TOP or a control group that did not receive TOP or any other teen pregnancy prevention program. The study administered surveys before conducting random assignment (baseline), and again immediately and 12 months after the end of the program.

The study findings failed to replicate the favorable impacts on sexual activity rates and pregnancy found in the earlier studies by Daley et al. (2015) and Allen et al. (1997), respectively. In particular, the study found that immediately after the end of the program, the subgroup of adolescents in the group receiving TOP who were sexually inexperienced at baseline were no less likely than their counterparts in the control group to report they have had become sexually active (odds ratio = 1.25). Twelve months after the end of the program, the study found that adolescents in the group receiving TOP were no less likely than adolescents in the control group to report ever being pregnant (odds ratio = 0.96). Immediately and 12 months after the end of the program, the study also found no evidence of statistically significant program impacts on having sex without using an effective method of birth control in the last three months.

Notes

Some study entries may include more than one citation because each citation examines a different follow-up period from the same study sample, or because each citation examines a different set of outcome measures on the same study sample. A blank cell indicates the study did not examine any outcome measures within the particular outcome domain or the findings for the outcome measures within that domain did not meet the review evidence standards.

Information on evidence of effectiveness is available only for studies that received a high or moderate rating. Read the description of the review process for more information on how these programs are identified.