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Highschool Children

A CYPAR Study in Youth Leadership Development

Thank you for your interest in learning more about the CYPAR Study in Youth Leadership Development. On this page, you can learn more about the study, and the Youth Leadership Development Ecostsyetm which was derived from this data.

About the Study

Using a Critical Youth Participatory Action Research (CYPAR) model, this study’s goal was to uplift the voices of young people negatively impacted by youth leadership development in some way. Through CYPAR, this study created a space where its participants can share their experiences and create an initiative that would better meet their needs. Given the numerous studies on youth leadership development, many do not recognize or address the needs of youth who report having a negative relationship with current leadership ideas. The study contributes to the ongoing understanding of youth leadership development practices.  


In this study, students worked in a group of ten other high school participants nationwide. Together, participants collaborated in co-developing a leadership development initiative from February 2023 to mid-March 2023. Throughout the experience, participants made new relationships, gained critical thinking and research skills, and provided ample opportunities for consensus building and teamwork. 

The partners and community members who helped make this study happen demonstrated dedication to cultivating meaningful and impactful youth programs and a willingness to engage with tough questions. However, this study begins a much larger conversation about building meaningful, engaging programs that constructively connect youth with their communities. This work does not happen in silos but only in working together.

Full access to the study can be found here.

About Me

My name is Dr. Trisha Swed, and I am exploring the impact leadership development programs and opportunities have on young people, the communities, and the organizations that support them. I have been working in youth leadership development for 13 years focusing on supporting nonprofits and underserved communities in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and beyond.

Teenage Students Raising Hands

Important Study Links

Informed Consent Form

Mental Health 

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