Adolescence is a pivotal period in a person’s development, and major changes in physical appearance, emotional state, and mental capacity characterize it. Teenagers from historically disadvantaged neighborhoods face a particular set of problems that can harm their growth and development (Parker, 2019). This report’s objective is to make recommendations for after-school programs located in North Carolina that contribute to the overall growth and development of black teenagers. The programs are designed to teach teenagers about their identities, assist them in developing social skills, and encourage them to have healthy self-images.
Key Areas of Adolescent Development
The programming should center on the most important aspects of teenage development, including the building of identity, the management of emotions, the development of social skills, and the accomplishment of scholastic goals. Developing an awareness of and an appreciation for one’s racial and cultural identity can be particularly difficult for black teenagers, who may experience additional obstacles (Tikhonov et al., 2019). Adolescents must learn how to regulate their emotions since they may experience stress, worry, and other feelings that may affect their mental health. Building strong relationships with others and cultivating a favorable image of oneself requires strong social skills (Parker, 2019). Lastly, achieving success in one’s academic pursuits is critical to laying a solid groundwork for one’s future success.
Unique Challenges Faced by Black Adolescents
Racist discrimination, negative cultural messages, and unfavorable stereotypes are just some of the unique obstacles that black adolescents confront that might have a negative impact on their development (Moore et al., 2020). These difficulties may affect the individuals’ sense of self-esteem and worth and their academic performance (Parker, 2019). After-school programs should offer a secure and encouraging atmosphere in which black adolescents can freely express themselves and create meaningful relationships with their peers and adults.
Cultural Factors to Leverage as Strengths
After-school programs can capitalize on the cultural aspects of black adolescents’ strengths to better assist their development (Varner et al., 2020). These variables include the support of one’s family, involvement in one’s community, and pride in one’s cultural heritage. Families can participate in after-school programming, cultural events and themes can be celebrated, and after-school programs can include cultural themes in their lessons. This strategy can assist black teenagers in developing a robust cultural identity, a good self-image, and a sense of belonging in their communities.
Recommended After-School Programs
It is advised that black teenagers in North Carolina participate in the after-school activities listed below to assist their development.
- The goal of the program, known as the Identity Exploration Program, is to assist young black people in comprehending and embracing their racial and cultural identities. Workshops, talks by special guests, and roundtable discussions all center on identity development and are included.
- Emotional Regulation Program: This program teaches black adolescents how to properly regulate their emotions (Louie & Wheaton, 2019). The program’s target audience is black adolescents. Meditation, group talk therapy, and creative expression are all components of this treatment.
- This program seeks to develop the social skills of black teenagers and is referred to as the Social Skills Program. It consists of activities designed to establish teams and training in conflict resolution and leadership development.
- Academic Achievement Program: This program aims to improve the academic achievement of black adolescents by providing them with additional resources and support. Help with schoolwork, tutoring, and programs geared toward college readiness are all included.
Recommendations for public policy can, in addition to after-school activities, help improve the educational outcomes of black teenagers in North Carolina (Saguy & Rees, 2021). The following suggestions for changes to the policy are put forward:
- To achieve better educational outcomes, it should be state policy to increase funding for public schools in neighborhoods that have historically been underserved.
- Implementation of culturally responsive teaching approaches should be required by school policy in order to enhance the educational opportunities available to black adolescents.
- Family Policy: By providing parents with resources and support, families should be encouraged to participate in their children’s educational experiences.
- Explanation of the task and the purpose of the report
- A brief overview of the report’s content
Key Areas of Development to Focus on
- Emotional development
- Social development
- Identity development
- Academic development
III. Unique Challenges for Black Adolescents
- Racism and discrimination
- Cultural mistrust
- Lack of representation in media and education
- Trauma and poverty
Cultural Factors to Leverage as Strengths
- Family support
- Community involvement
- Cultural pride
- Sense of community and collectivism
- Comprehensive after-school program
- Incorporating cultural themes into the curriculum
- Providing mentorship and guidance
- Fostering a sense of community
Policy Recommendations (Bonus)
- State policies to support educational outcomes
- School policies to support educational outcomes
- Family policies to support educational outcomes
- Summary of key recommendations
- Emphasis on addressing the unique needs of historically marginalized black adolescents and emerging adults.
The growth and development of black teenagers in North Carolina can be significantly aided by participating in extracurricular activities and after-school programs. These programs emphasize the building of identities, the regulation of emotions, the development of social skills, and the accomplishment of academic goals. In addition, helping black teenagers make the most of the positive aspects of their cultural elements as strengths might contribute to their overall positive development. Recommendations for public policy can also help improve the educational outcomes of black teenagers in North Carolina.
Saguy, A. C., & Rees, M. E. (2021). Gender, power, and harassment: Sociology in the# MeToo era. Annual Review of Sociology, 47, 417-435.
Louie, P., & Wheaton, B. (2019). The Black-White paradox revisited: understanding the role of counterbalancing mechanisms during adolescence. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 60(2), 169–187.
Varner, F., Hou, Y., Ross, L., Hurd, N. M., & Mattis, J. (2020). Dealing with discrimination: Parents’ and adolescents’ racial discrimination experiences and parenting in African American families. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 26(2), 215.
Moore, K. L., Camacho, D., & Munson, M. R. (2020). Identity negotiation processes among Black and Latinx sexual minority young adult mental health service users. Journal of gay & lesbian social services, 32(1), 21-48.
Tikhonov, A. A., Espinosa, A., Huynh, Q. L., & Anglin, D. M. (2019). Bicultural identity harmony and American identity are associated with positive mental health in US racial and ethnic minority immigrants. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 25(4), 494.
Parker, T. A. (2019). Harsh Parenting in Military Versus Civilian Families: Does Military Culture Moderate the Influence of Socioeconomic Status and Race? (Doctoral dissertation, Old Dominion University).