Elemental / Medicine Wheel
The Youth Resiliency Institute strives to honor the many neighborhoods we serve by holding ourselves to the highest standards of performance.

YRI utilizes evaluation models based on the important and essential value of Kujichagulia (Self-Determination). More than thirty years of research (stemming from the work of Ed Deci and Richard Ryan at the University of Rochester) has demonstrated that Kujichagulia (self-determination) can be measured. This research forms the foundation of how YRI determines its success. This type of evaluation (introduced by Deborah Wasserman)respects the intrinsic wholeness and competence of the people receiving and providing human services. Moreover, this type of evaluation is systems based, recognizing that program participants are nested in communities and communities in turn are formed by the success of program participants. It reflects the underlying values that drive Rites of Passage: healthy development of individuals depends on the support of their community--and in turn, the health of the community depends on the contributions of the individuals coming together to be there for the continual influx of new community members.

The LaVista Foundation, a supporter of A Dream In Cherry Hill, employs cooperative economics to impact whole child healthy development in Baltimore’s Cherry Hill community.

Two years of Self-Determination Theory-based evaluation of YRI’s A Dream in Cherry Hill summer camp demonstrated campers’ significant improvement in the areas of:

  • Self-Determination (sense of competence, relatedness, and autonomy in relation to authority) –driven primarily by improved sense of competence;
  • Civic knowledge (the who and how of local government);
  • Knowledge of the Nguzo Saba;
  • Motivation to be civically engaged; and
  • Behaving in ways that align with the Nguzo Saba.

The systems approach of the evaluation also helped to uncover the need to continue to work with families to build supportive communities and to document the positive changes that have already been occurring.

Read what cultural organizer Keshauna published about her experience in The Youth Resiliency Institute’s A Dream In Cherry Hill summer camp. Click here to read the story.



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The Youth Resiliency Institute is a program under the umbrella of Fusion Partnerships, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization registered in the state of Maryland. The Youth Resiliency Institute is dedicated to inspiring realization of the authentic self in children, youth and young adults in Baltimore. We encourage and support authentic living in the service of just, joyful and sustainable communities.