Building Resilience After School for Early Adolescents in Urban Poverty: Open Trial of Leaders @ Play

Adm Policy Ment Health. 2015 Nov;42(6):723-36. doi: 10.1007/s10488-014-0608-7.


Leaders @ Play is a park after-school program for urban middle school youth designed to leverage recreational activities for social emotional learning. Mental health and park staff co-facilitated sports and games to teach and practice problem solving, emotion regulation, and effective communication. Additional practice occurred during multi-family groups and summer internships as junior camp counselors. We examined feasibility and promise via an open trial (n = 3 parks, 46 youth, 100 % African American, 100 % low-income, 59 % female, M = 13.09 years old). Improvements in social skills and reductions in problem behaviors lend support to after school programs as a space for mental health promotion.

Keywords: After school; Early adolescence; Risk and resilience; Urban poverty.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Communication
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parks, Recreational*
  • Poverty*
  • Problem Solving*
  • Recreation*
  • Resilience, Psychological*
  • Self-Control*
  • Social Learning*
  • Sports*
  • Urban Population*