Youth Wellness Index & Research

Approach on Wellness

Why Wellness?

We focus on Youth Wellness as the leading indicator for predictive outcomes in schools. Without wellness, children rarely sustain consistent performance in school and beyond.

The more well, the more resilient and hopeful during trying times. The youth that struggle most in school are often the least well with the least access to the armor and medicine needed to turn things around. These are the wounded ones–the ones we most often fail in school and society.

Without tracking these leading indicators, we run the risk of focusing on short term gains that mechanize their school performance–no real learning, no retention, no application. They stand little hope of ever transforming their lives or school outcomes.

  • We take research on wellness and reassess it within decolonial frameworks, and how western education has cultivated our disconnect with ancestors and land. 
  • We align these frameworks by centering youth voices at each school site through the Youth Wellness Index.
  • Through results from the Youth Wellness Index, we lean into the strengths and areas for growth and implement them into the classroom.
  • Through this youth-centered approach, we create systemic change, laying ground for an ecosystem of wellness and interconnectedness for youth, families, educators, and leaders.

How to Use the Youth Wellness Index

The Youth Wellness Index is a tool that can be used in classrooms and youth community spaces to better understand how young people perceive and sustain healthy relationships with themselves and their communities. The survey and index is centered in Community Responsive Education’s definition of wellness, which integrates decolonial frameworks of connection to ancestors and land as part of well-being and interconnectedness. The data collected from the survey can help educators and community leaders in understanding strengths and areas of growth for their community wellness strategies. When a young person completes the survey, they are given a summary that helps them understand their connection to self, others, and the land.

The results of our work suggests that youth of color regard these five factors as important to their well-being, and that when they perceive themselves to be falling short in meeting these factors, their self-esteem, resilience, and hopefulness tend to be negatively affected.

  • (Innerself) Personal worth and well-being
  • (Innerself) Sense of personal purpose
  • (Interpersonal) Respect for others
  • (Interconnectedness) Community responsibility
  • (Interconnectedness) Community connectedness

The data summary and analytics that you will receive once your students have completed their surveys will indicate what strengths and areas of growth across these five factors are present. Once you’ve received the data summary and analytics for your classroom or school, you can:

  • View your data summary to understand the strengths and areas of growth across the domains for your classroom.
  • Utilize the summaries each student has been assigned through the survey and the prompts (journaling/drawing, meditation, or connecting) for individual work.
  • Utilize the resources suggested in your data summary in your classroom.