Teen Outreach Program (TOP)

Developers

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 building social, emotional, and life skills; developing a positive sense of self; and connecting with others. Specific curriculum lesson topics include health and wellness (including sexuality), emotion management, and self-understanding among many others. The development of supportive relationships with adult facilitators is a crucial part of the model, as are relationships with other peers in the program.

Intended Population

The program is designed to meet the developmental needs of middle (6th-8th grades) and high school teens (9th-12th grades). The program has been evaluated with African American, Latino, and White middle and high school youth.

Program Setting

TOP is implemented in a variety of settings, including rural, urban, in school, after-school, through community organizations or in systems and institutional settings. The program has been evaluated in middle and high school settings, and in after-school and community-based settings.

Contact and Availability Information
Tori Gale
Wyman Center
600 Kiwanis Drive
St. Louis, MO 63025
Ph: 314-712-2368
Website: www.wymancenter.org
Sample of Curriculum Available for Review Prior to Purchase
Yes
Languages Available
English
Monitoring and Evaluation Tools
Monitoring and evaluation tools available
Yes
Monitoring and evaluation tool usage required
No
Information about available monitoring and evaluation tools (if applicable)

Wyman has developed TOP implementation fidelity criteria and provides access to Wyman Connect, Wyman’s proprietary online data management system for program implementers. Implementing sites enter their program data into Wyman Connect and gain access to fidelity reports for tracking progress against TOP fidelity criteria. Wyman also provides sites with pre- and post-intervention teen surveys to collect data about program satisfaction and outcomes. Programs enter the data from these surveys into Wyman Connect, and reports are available for monitoring satisfaction and outcomes.

Program Core Components

Last updated in 2023

The data presented on this page reflects responses from the program’s developer or distributor to a program component checklist that asked them to report on the individual components within their TPP program. The same program component checklist was sent to the developer or distributor of every active TPP program with evidence of effectiveness. The program component table provides data on seven types of program components including content, delivery mechanism, dosage, staffing, format, environment, and intended population characteristics; whether the component was present or optional in the program; whether the component is considered to be core to the program; and the lesson number or activity where the component can be found in the program. For more details, refer to the FAQ.

Category Component Core Component Component present Notes Lesson number(s) / activities where present
Delivery mechanism Other
Dosage Frequency Yes Yes Weekly sessions for a total of at least 25 (implementers encouraged to exceed minimum)
Dosage Intensity Yes Yes Sessions are 45-60 minutes each
Dosage Duration Yes Yes 32-36 week program cycle
Dosage Other Yes Yes At least 12 TOP Curriculum lessons and at least 20 hours of Community Service Learning (CSL) (implementers are encouraged to exceed the minimums)
Staffing Deliverer: Community health worker No Yes (both versions) N/A
Staffing Deliverer: Faith-based individual No Optional N/A
Staffing Deliverer: Health educator No Yes (both versions) N/A
Staffing Deliverer: Mental health provider No Optional N/A
Staffing Deliverer: Mentors No Yes (both versions) N/A
Staffing Deliverer: Parents/family No N/A
Staffing Deliverer: Peers No N/A
Staffing Deliverer: Primary care provider No N/A
Staffing Deliverer: Social worker and/or counselor No Yes (both versions) N/A
Staffing Deliverer: Teachers No Yes (both versions) N/A
Staffing Deliverer: Other No Yes (evaluated version) Youth workers/individuals with experience delivering youth development programs N/A
Staffing Experience: Credentials Yes Yes (both versions) Completion of a 2.5 day Training of Facilitators facilitated by a certified trainer is required N/A
Staffing Experience: Education No Yes (evaluated version) Bachelor's degree in youth development, social work, psychology, education or related field, or equivalent work experience, preferred. N/A
Staffing Experience: Other No Optional Minimum of 1 year experience in teen program delivery preferred. N/A
Staffing Number of staff providing services Yes Yes (both versions) Ratio not to exceed 1 facilitator to 25 teens N/A
Staffing Training: Additional training required No N/A
Staffing Training: Developer-led training required Yes Yes (both versions) Completion of 5-day Training of Trainers for program coordinators/supervisors is required N/A
Staffing Training: Other Yes Yes (both versions) Wyman's National Network offers ongoing guidance and TA on implementation as well as webinars, an annual conference, and other PD opportunities N/A
Staffing Other Yes Yes (both versions) A Program Coordinator is required to oversee all aspects of implementation N/A
Format Mode: In-person Yes Yes (both versions) N/A
Format Group size: Other No N/A
Format Group size: Full-group activity Yes Yes (both versions) N/A
Format Group size: Independent/individual activity No N/A
Format Group size: Small-group activity No Optional N/A
Format Mode: Phone (audio) No N/A
Format Mode: Phone (text) No N/A
Format Mode: Phone (app) No N/A
Format Mode: Online/computer (asynchronous) No N/A
Format Mode: Online/computer (synchronous) No N/A
Format Mode: Other No N/A
Format Other No N/A
Environment Context: Environmental supports Yes Yes (evaluated version) Obtain necessary supplies as listed for each curriculum lesson; program training encourages facilitators to create physically safe and supportive space which may include modifying the room from classroom style to chairs in a circle. N/A
Environment Context: Environmental constraints Yes Yes (evaluated version) The curriculum advises facilitators to know the policies of the school district and community agencies regarding discussing sexuality and getting parental permission when appropriate/necessary. N/A
Environment Context: Other N/A
Environment Setting: After school No Yes (both versions) N/A
Environment Setting: Community based No Yes (both versions) N/A
Environment Setting: Correctional facility No Optional N/A
Environment Setting: Faith based No Optional N/A
Environment Setting: Health care clinic No Optional N/A
Environment Setting: Home-based case management No No N/A
Environment Setting: Home/housing No No N/A
Environment Setting: In school (during the school day) No Yes (both versions) N/A
Environment Setting: Mental health clinic No No N/A
Environment Setting: Residential facility No Optional N/A
Environment Setting: School-based health clinic No Optional N/A
Program Objectives

The goals of Wyman's TOP are:

  1. Improve social, emotional, and life skills.
  2. Support development of a positive sense of self.
  3. Strengthen connections to others.
  4. Improve academic outcomes and decrease risky behavior.
Program Content
TOP’s goals are accomplished through implementation of TOP Curriculum lessons and meaningful Community Service Learning experiences. Facilitators provide at least 12 lessons from the TOP Curriculum and at least 20 hours of Community Service Learning, including preparation, action, and reflection on the service, throughout the course of the program cycle. The TOP curriculum includes 140 lessons on the following topics:
  • Emotion management
  • Problem-solving
  • Decision-making
  • Goal-setting
  • Health and wellness (including sexuality)
  • Self-understanding
  • Social identity
  • Empathy
  • Communication
  • Relationships
  • Community
The TOP Curriculum uses a holistic, positive youth development approach to sexual health education, including comprehensive, up-to-date and medically accurate sexual health information. TOP facilitators have the flexibility to select lessons that meet the needs and interests of the teens they serve.
 
TOP provides high quality facilitation by caring, responsive and knowledgeable staff who build strong, supportive relationships with teens, and create engaging and empowering “TOP Club” experiences.
Program Methods
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 on Wyman’s TOP website: http://teenoutreachprogram.com/resources/.
Program Structure and Timeline

The program is structured as weekly, 60-minute peer group meetings (minimum of 45 minutes) across a total program duration of at least 32 weeks. Youth may participate in multiple years of the program.

The essential elements of Wyman's Teen Outreach Program (TOP) include:

  • TOP Trained Adults: TOP is delivered by a trained adult facilitator to a group of teens referred to as a “TOP Club.”
  • Weekly Peer Group Meetings: TOP Clubs hold at least 25 weekly meetings across a program cycle, with a teen to facilitator ratio no greater than 25:1.
  • TOP Curriculum: Facilitators provide at least 12 lessons from the TOP curriculum with content tailored to teens’ needs and interests.
  • Community Service Learning: TOP teens complete at least 20 hours of meaningful community service learning, which includes planning, action, and reflection.
  • Quality Assurance Plan: A guide to the monitoring of fidelity and quality.
Staffing

Each TOP club is led by trained facilitators, at a ratio of at least one facilitator for every 25 teens in the club. Facilitators should remain consistent for the duration of the program. Facilitators may be social workers, teachers, school guidance personnel, or youth workers who have been trained to facilitate the program.

There is no minimum educational level required before attending TOP facilitator training. Adults who facilitate TOP must be trained through completion of the 2.5-day TOP Training of Facilitators. The TOP Coordinator (person assuming responsibility for overall TOP implementation) completes a 5-day TOP Training of Trainers.

Staff Training

TOP is replicated through a Certified Replication Partner process, which is designed to help partners provide TOP 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 2.5-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.

Program Materials and Resources
Wyman is committed to supporting all organizations implementing TOP to ensure they receive required training as well as ongoing technical assistance and support to implement TOP with fidelity and quality. Specifically, Wyman provides the following tools and resources:
  • Up to 10 TOP Curriculum sets, which include three books of lessons (Building My Skills; Learning About Myself; Connecting With Others) and the TOP Facilitation Guide.
  • Access to 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. Additional program resources are also available on Wyman Connect, such as training content and updates.
  • Access to Wyman’s National Network training offerings and associated materials, including Training of Trainers (TOT) and Training of Facilitators (TOF) .
  • Special populations guide.
  • Capacity analysis and planning tool.
  • Webinars designed to extend learnings and program impact.
  • An e-newsletter with latest trends and best practices.
  • Facilitator Institutes and Coordinator Learning Exchanges as additional training opportunities that extend TOP implementation expertise.
Additional Needs for Implementation
  • Program materials including the Coordinator Work Plan, Sample TOP Calendar for Coordinators, and the Life Cycle of TOP for Coordinators.
  • A meeting room for holding Club Meetings.
  • Internet access for use of online resources including Wyman Connect (online data management system), and to enhance student exploration of community service learning options, etc.
  • Access to transportation for facilitators to aid in completion of community service learning opportunities.
Fidelity
Wyman provides detailed information about fidelity requirements and engages partners in an annual certification process that includes a review partners’ implementation of TOP.
Technical Assistance and Ongoing Support
TOP Partners have real-time access to the National Network team in order to discuss and identify 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 32 weeks in duration to be a minor adaptation as long as youth are provided with at least 25 weekly meetings, at least 12 TOP Curriculum lessons, 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.

Adaptation Guidelines or Kit
Yes
Reviewed Studies
Citation High-Quality Randomized Trial Moderate-Quality Randomized Trial Moderate-Quality Quasi-Experiment Low Study Rating Did Not Meet Eligibility Criteria

Allen et al. 1997

Allen and Philliber 2001

Francis et al. 2015

Francis et al. 2016

Seshadri et al. 2015

Crean et al. 2015

Robinson et al. 2016b

Daley et al. 2015

Walsh-Buhi et al. 2016

Francis et al. 2016

Philliber and Philliber 2016

Philliber et al. 2016

Robinson et al. 2016a

Robinson et al. 2016b

Study Characteristics
Citation Setting Majority Age Group Majority Racial/Ethnic Group Gender Sample Size

Allen et al. 1997

In school: High school 14 to 17 African American or Black Youth of any gender

695

Allen and Philliber 2001

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

Francis et al. 2015

Francis et al. 2016

In school: Middle school 13 or younger African American or Black Youth of any gender

1196

Seshadri et al. 2015

In school: High school 14 to 17 African American or Black Youth of any gender

5633

Crean et al. 2015

Robinson et al. 2016b

After school 13 or younger African American or Black Youth of any gender

1188

Daley et al. 2015

Walsh-Buhi et al. 2016

In school: High school 14 to 17 White Youth of any gender

2058

Francis et al. 2016

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

Philliber and Philliber 2016

In school: High school 14 to 17 African American or Black Youth of any gender

934

Philliber et al. 2016

Multiple settings 14 to 17 White Youth of any gender

8662

Robinson et al. 2016a

Robinson et al. 2016b

After school 13 or younger African American or Black Youth of any gender

4769

Study Findings

Evidence by Outcome Domain and Study

Citation Sexual Activity Number of Sexual Partners Contraceptive Use STIs or HIV Pregnancy

Allen et al. 1997

n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. Potentially favorable evidence

Allen and Philliber 2001

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

Francis et al. 2015

Francis et al. 2016

Indeterminate evidence n.a. Indeterminate evidence n.a. n.a.

Seshadri et al. 2015

Indeterminate evidence n.a. Indeterminate evidence n.a. n.a.

Crean et al. 2015

Robinson et al. 2016b

Indeterminate evidence n.a. Indeterminate evidence n.a. n.a.

Daley et al. 2015

Walsh-Buhi et al. 2016

Potentially favorable evidence n.a. n.a. n.a. Favorable evidence

Francis et al. 2016

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

Philliber and Philliber 2016

Indeterminate evidence n.a. Indeterminate evidence n.a. n.a.

Philliber et al. 2016

Indeterminate evidence n.a. Indeterminate evidence n.a. Conflicting evidence

Robinson et al. 2016a

Robinson et al. 2016b

Indeterminate evidence n.a. Indeterminate evidence n.a. Indeterminate evidence
KEY
Evidence Indication
Favorable findings
Two or more favorable impacts and no unfavorable impacts, regardless of null findings
Potentially favorable findings
At least one favorable impact and no unfavorable impacts, regardless of null findings
Indeterminate findings
Uniformly null findings
Conflicting findings
At least one favorable and at least one unfavorable impact, regardless of null findings
Potentially unfavorable findings
At least one unfavorable impact and no favorable impacts, regardless of null findings
Unfavorable findings
Two or more unfavorable impacts and no favorable impacts, regardless of null findings
Note: n.a. indicates the study did not examine any outcome measures within that particular outcome domain, or the study examined outcome measures within that domain but the findings did not meet the review evidence standards.
Detailed Findings
Citation Details

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

Francis et al. 2015

Francis et al. 2016

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.

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.

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.

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)(odds ratio = 0.58). 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. 2016

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.