“…unlike infants whose brain activity is completely determined by their parents and environment, teens may actually be able to control how their own brains are wired and sculpted.”

Youth who “exercise” their brains by learning to order their thoughts, understand abstract concepts, and control their impulses are laying the neural foundations that will serve them for the rest of their lives.

Giedd, J., Blumenthal, J., Jeffries, N., Castellanos, F., Liu, H., Zijdenbos, A., Paus, T., Evans, A., and Rapoport, J. (1999). Brain development during childhood and adolescence: A longitudinal MRI study. Nature Neuroscience, 2 (10), 861-863.

 

The Glories HATS Project®

Our youth are coming of age in an epoch of low public trust, corporate ethic uncertainty, increased global competitiveness, economic stress, and escalating environmental challenges aggravated by socio-economic consequences of a slow economic recovery.  This atmosphere can affect youth’s sense of well-being and impact their collective sense of hopefulness, sense of efficacy and life choices.  One of the overwhelming findings of research on the well - being of children has been the issue of co-morbidity or contagion. Both negative and positive experiences are "contagious" in that they establish chains of sequences or experiences.1 

One of the challenges in youth health communication is how to reduce health risk behaviors and promote positive health behaviors.  Additional research shows adolescence as a time of considerable development at the level of behavior, cognition and the brain.2

Likewise, at this age, the development of compassion and empathy is shown to increase executive level brain functioning, critical thinking, decision making and problem-solving skills. 

With findings in adolescent brain development now taking a central role in the design and development of adolescent health intervention programs, it is appropriate to introduce a research-based multi-disciplinary service-learning activity designed to profoundly transform basic routines and beliefs youth may have at a time when they can benefit most.

The GHP® shows how we can guide the micro phenomenon of youth health behaviors both individually and collectively on a local and regional level, then scale to national level which, in turn, will convey to intense impact on the macro circumstances of their future.

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“Stay Healthy to Help Others” - The Glories HATS Project®

As research shows, peer-support has the greatest impact on feelings of well-being and positive outlook in hospitalized children.3 The emotional health of children during hospitalization may directly influence the healing process, length of stay, hospital costs and patient outcomes.

The 6.3 million children hospitalized in the US each year serves as the base goal for GHP's® scalable program design recognizing youth as the sole suppliers of Glories hats, a recognized therapeutic resource representing peer-support.

GHP® cultivates peer-support in a series of “hands-on” educational workshops where youth create a therapeutic commodity (the Glories hat) for local children’s hospitals. This, in turn, generates a positive reciprocal connection between youth, medical staff, patients and caregivers, and is the driver for youth awareness, action and advocacy in support of children’s health while the “hands-on” production process builds self-efficacy and initiative supporting 21st Century Skills.

The impact of GHP® increases feelings of well-being and positive outlook in both youth producing them and patients receiving them. As hospitals communicate critical need for Glories hats, youth self-organize to lead integrated community production workshops to meet demand thus engaging entire communities, hospital region by hospital region in awareness, action and advocacy for children’s health.

GHP® acts as a successful social innovation model for youth to further envision and design entrepreneurial and social innovation processes to translate important research out for the common good.

1 Westley Frances and Antadze Nino (2010), “Making a Difference: Strategies for Scaling Social Innovation for Greater Impact”, The Innovation Journal: The Public Sector Innovation Journal, Vol. 15 (2).

2Sarah-Jayne Blakemore and Suparna Choudhury,   Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, University College London, UK; 2Behavioural & Brain Sciences Unit, Institute of Child Health, University College London, UK Development of the adolescent brain: implications for executive function and social cognition, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 47:3/4 (2006), pp 296–312

3 Lalita K. Suzuki, Ph.D., Pamela M. Kato, Ed.M., Ph.D. (2003) Psychosocial Support for Patients in Pediatric Oncology: The Influences of Parents, Schools, Peers, and Technology. Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing, 20(4), 159-174.

 

Lancet. 2012 Apr 28;379(9826):1641-52. Epub 2012 Apr 25, Adolescence and the social determinants of health, Viner RM, Ozer EM, Denny S, Marmot M, Resnick M, Fatusi A, Currie C., UCL Institute of Child Health, University College London, UK., rviner@ich.ucl.ac.uk

 Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84, 191-215.

Bandura, A. (1995a). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: Freeman.
Bandura, A. (Ed.) (1995b), Self-efficacy in changing societies. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Larson, Reed, Journal of Community Psychology, Special Issue: Youth Mentoring: Bridging Science With Practice, pages 677–689, November 2006

Action and self-development. Edited by Jochen Brandstädter and Richard M. Lerner, Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA, 1999. ISBN 0-761-91543-5.

Larson, Reed, Journal of Community Psychology, Special Issue: Youth Mentoring: Bridging Science With Practice Volume 34, Issue 6, pages 677–689, November 2006

Changes in Adolescents' Interpersonal Experiences: Are They Being Prepared for Adult Relationships in the Twenty-First Century? Reed W. Larson1, Suzanne Wilson1, B. Bradford Brown2, Frank F. Furstenberg, Jr.3, Suman Verma4, Journal of Research on Adolescence, Volume 12, Issue 1, pages 31–68, March 2002

Baumester, R. F., Campbell, J. D., Krueger, J. I., & Vohs, K. E.(2003). Does high self-esteem cause better performance, inter-personal success, happiness, or healthier lifestyles?  Psychological Science in the Public Interest , 4, 1–44.

Rennick JE, Johnston CC, Dougherty G, Platt R, Ritchie JA. Children’s psychological responses after critical illness and exposure to technology. J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2002;23: 133–144
Children’s experiences of hospitalization IMELDA COYNE, BSc(Hons), DipN, PhD, RSCN,
RGN, RNT, Lecturer in Children’s Nursing, School of Nursing, Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland, Journal of Child Health Care, 2006, Vol 10(4) 326–336

Lalita K. Suzuki, Ph.D., Pamela M. Kato, Ed.M., Ph.D. (2003) Psychosocial Support for Patients in Pediatric Oncology: The Influences of Parents, Schools, Peers, and Technology. Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing, 20(4), 159-174

Lawrence W. Brown, MD, Associate Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and President of the Child Neurology Foundation. http://www.childneurologyfoundation.org/news, February 21, 2012 (Minneapolis, MN)

   
 
   
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