Street University is a unique and innovative youth development program for marginalised young people aged 12-25 years, established and administered by the Ted Noffs Foundation. It provides a range of creative, life skills and design and technology activities as a way to hook young people into a non-traditional health and welfare setting where they are given the opportunity to take part in drug and alcohol programs and other therapeutic services, vocational and education workshops, and mentoring and bridging programs. A central principle of the program is the valuing of the resourcefulness and agency of young people, aimed at increasing self-expression, goal-setting, skill-building and social participation.
The Centre for Social Research is working in partnership with the Noffs Foundation to evaluate the impact of the Street University program on marginalised young people, focusing specifically on the impact of the program on substance use, mental health and criminal activity, but also other important personal and social outcomes. The evaluation will identify which program aspects, or combination of program aspects, are most successful in engaging vulnerable young people and promoting the most positive health and social outcomes. A prospective cohort study will be conducted with three contact points over a six month period. A smaller interpretive qualitative component will also contribute to the evaluation findings, and scalability assessment will be conducted.
The project is due to begin in mid-late 2017 with a target completion date in 2019.
Naomi Noffs, Kieran Palmer, Mark Ferry (Ted Noffs Foundation)