The impact of the Hoodlinks program to develop life skills and prevent youth violence in Guatemala / James Mandigo

Mandigo, James

Edited by Brock University - 2016

The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of the Hoodlinks program on the development of life skills. Hoodlinks is a sporting program focused on the development of Olympic Values that is run in two of Guatemala City’s most violent zones. A total of 116 (80 males; 36 females) athletes (average age = 13 yrs.) provided written assent and parental consent to participate in this study along with 5 coaches who also provided informed consent to participate. Using a mixed-methods longitudinal design, athletes completed a series of questionnaires in August, 2015 and again in February, 2016 that assessed their level of aggressive and caring behaviours, use of life skills both in and outside the Hoodlinks program, and their overall quality of experience within the program. Interviews with athletes, their parents/ guardians, and the program’s coaches also took place at both time periods. Results showed high positive experiences in the Hoodlinks program at both time periods, significant increases in the use of life skills within the Hoodlinks program as assessed by their coaches, and significant increases in overall communication skills. Interviews with the participants highlighted the importance of running the program directly in high risk areas and the positive impact that the program had on the development of life skills for the athletes, the positive changes within the communities where Hoodlinks took place, and the additional levels of support that the Hoodlinks program had provided to athletes and their families. Recommendations for helping athletes transfer the life skills learned within the program to their everyday lives are provided along with recommendations to explore expanding the program to more zones and regions across Guatemala as an effective social approach to addressing youth violence in the country

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