Summer Youth Research Institute (SYRI) of ICR's
Youth Action Research Institute (YARI) (formerly
the National Teen Action Research Center) offers
Hartford area teenagers the opportunity to use
research to solve important social issues facing
Youth are employed as members of the ICR research
staff during the annual six-week summer program.
Using cooperative instructional techniques, Institute
staff and teen facilitators train the youth in
research methods, such as surveying, interviewing,
photodocumentation, and mapping. They then help
them conduct a group research project on a social
issue of their choice. Local activists are often
invited to speak to the teens about models of
social change and the use of strategies like lobbying,
petitioning, boycotting, and social marketing.
Youth also learn how to use the arts to influence
audiences with their research results.
After training, the youth spend the majority of
their time out in the field conducting research.
Depending on their chosen topic, they may interview
Connecticut legislators, staff from state and
social service agencies, youth organizations and
hospitals, as well as their peers. In addition
to interviews and the use of other research methods,
they make trips to various universities where
they meet with students, share research results
and meet faculty researchers who act as role models.
At the end of six weeks, the youth exhibit their
results in the ICR Gallery. Using interactive
visual techniques, they present their findings
to an audience of ICR staff, program collaborators,
funders, youth groups, and their parents. A number
of young people continue to work at ICR during
the school year as youth action researchers and
peer educators. They are encouraged to take action
on their research results by continuing and completing
short and long-term action plans.
Youth have investigated and acted on a variety
of topics including teen violence and drug abuse,
discrimination against youth based on sexual orientation,
teen stress, school dropout rates, sex at an early
age, and AIDS attitudes among their peers.
The SYRI has been supported with federal, state, and
private funding, including the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, the National Institute
of Mental Health, the State Department of Mental
Health and Addiction Services, the William Caspar
Graustein Memorial Fund, the Gill Foundation,
Capital Workforce Partners, and the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.
Program collaborators have included the Center
for International Community Health Studies at
UCONN, the Pediatrics AIDS Program of the Connecticut
Children's Medical Center, the CT Primary Care
Association, the North Central Area Health Education
Center, and Yale University.
a publication about the 2004 Summer Youth
articles in the Hartford Courant about the Summer Youth Research Institute in 2005 and