Wyman’s Teen Outreach Program® (TOP®)

Program Goals
Wyman’s Teen Outreach Program® (TOP®) is a national youth development program designed to prevent adolescent problem behaviors by helping youth ages 12–19 develop healthy behaviors, life skills, and a sense of purpose.

Target Population
TOP® serves adolescents in grades 6–12. In 2012, TOP® served nearly 30,000 teens from more than 350 low-resource communities across the country. TOP® can be integrated into the curriculum of schools but is also implemented as an out-of-school program through community-based youth organizations, local health departments, and social service agencies.

Program Activities
TOP® consists of three interrelated elements: community service learning, adult support and guidance, and curriculum-based group activities.

  • Community service learning: Participants engage in a minimum of 20 hours of community service learning per academic year. TOP® staff guide the youth in choosing, planning, implementing, reflecting on, and celebrating their service learning project. Service projects may include direct service, indirect service, or civic actions.  
  • Adult support and guidance: Each TOP® club is led by at least one consistent and trained facilitator over the 9-month cycle. Group facilitators include teachers, guidance personnel, or youth workers who have been trained to facilitate the discussions outlined in the curriculum.
  • Curriculum-based group activities: TOP® groups meet at least once a week throughout the school year (9 months) to discuss topics from the Changing Scenes© curriculum, including communication skills/assertiveness, understanding and clarifying values, relationships, goal-setting, influences, decision-making, and adolescent health and sexual development. 

The curriculum uses a variety of experiential methods to engage youth, including small-group discussions and role-playing. A community service learning guide aids discussions about volunteer experiences, tying together the classroom and community service learning aspects of the program, and allowing youth to process and reflect on their service activities. To make TOP® appropriate for a range of grades and ages, the curriculum has four levels. Each level contains material that is developmentally appropriate for the age group involved (Level I: 12- to 13-year olds; Level II: 14-year-olds; Level III: 15- to 16-year olds; and Level IV: 17- to 19-year olds). Facilitators choose which Changing Scenes© lessons to implement with their TOP® group, allowing the group’s weekly meetings to be responsive to the needs of the group.

Key Personnel
Each TOP® club is led by at least one consistent and trained facilitator over the 9-month program. Facilitators include teachers, guidance personnel, or youth workers who have been trained to facilitate the discussions outlined in the curriculum (see the Implementation Information section to learn more).

Intervention ID
277
Ages

12 to 19

Rating
Promising
Outcomes

Study 1
Teen Pregnancies
Allen and colleagues (1994) found that, based on data collected at program exit, Wyman’s Teen Outreach Program® (TOP®) youths (females only) had lower levels of pregnancies (3.2 percent) relative to comparison students (5.4 percent). This difference was statistically significant.

Course Failures
Based on data collected at program exit, program youths had lower levels of course failures (31.2 percent) relative to comparison students (37.2 percent). This difference was statistically significant.

School Suspensions
Based on data collected at program exit, program youths had lower levels of school suspensions (16.5 percent) relative to comparison students (21.4 percent). This difference was statistically significant.

Study 2
Allen and colleagues (1997) found that TOP® participants experienced significantly lower levels of teenage pregnancy, course failure, and school suspension than students in the control group, even after accounting for baseline levels of these behaviors.

Teen Pregnancies
Based on data collected at program exit, program youths (females only) had lower levels of pregnancies (4.2 percent) relative to control youths (9.8 percent). This finding was statistically significant.

Course Failures
Based on data collected at program exit, program youths had lower levels of course failures (26.6 percent) relative to control youths (46.8 percent). This finding was statistically significant.

School Suspensions
Based on data collected at program exit, program youths had lower levels of school suspensions (13 percent) relative to control youths (28.7 percent). This finding was statistically significant.

Study 3
Allen and Philliber (2001) found that results confirmed earlier findings regarding the overall efficacy of TOP®, and indicated that the program appeared most effective for those students at greatest initial risk of the problem behaviors being targeted.

Teen Pregnancies
Based on data collected at program exit, program youths demonstrated only 53 percent of the pregnancy rate that was demonstrated by students in the comparison group.

Course Failures
Based on data collected at program exit, program youths demonstrated only 60 percent of the course failure rate that was demonstrated by students in the comparison group.

School Suspensions
Based on data collected at program exit, program youths demonstrated only 52 percent of the suspension rate that was demonstrated by students in the comparison group.

Topics
Topics - Placeholder

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