|Name of Representative||Daniel Thomas Page|
|Name of Employer/Organization||University of Queensland|
LifeMatters - Positive Youth Development Program in South Africa
The Positive Youth Development Foundation funded by the Univers Foundation delivered the LifeMatters program in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. LifeMatters is an evidence-based 10-session program teaching mental skills and cultivating internal assets and competencies that contribute toward a range of positive youth development (PYD) outcomes. Eight programs were implemented and evaluated; one train-the-trainer (TTT) program at a local university with university students (n = 24); six programs at a low-resource high school (n = 101); and one program at a school for learners with special educational needs (n = 16). Mixed method data were collected via focus groups, program evaluation forms, and three self-report scales for PYD outcomes (self-efficacy, self-esteem, and personal growth). Translated program materials improved participant comprehension. The adapted physical activities for the participants with disabilities and chronic health conditions were inclusive, educational, and fun. Qualitative data indicated the program was successful and valued; participants reported learning mental skills, prosocial values, and social skills. The TTT program improved university student participants' PYD outcomes (self-efficacy, self-esteem, and personal growth). The LifeMatters PYD program was found to be contextually appropriate and relevant for South African adolescents and emerging adults and is suitable for promoting personal and professional development.