Youth-led Participatory Action Research (YPAR)

The Center for Wellness and Nutrition (CWN) trains organizations to work with middle and high school youth to conduct YPAR projects. These projects provide youth with the opportunity to engage their leadership, critical thinking, problem-solving, service learning, and strategic-thinking skills. The youth engage with health equity issues that affect their communities, ultimately resulting in tangible community change.

Youth-led Participatory Action Research is an inquiry process that includes critical thinking, information gathering, analysis and logical problem solving while building networks and strengthening authentic voice to address an issue.

CWN uses a flexible curriculum originally developed by Youth in Focus. The curriculum activities are interactive, experiential, and  focus on garnering young people’s best thoughts and ideas throughout the entire research process. The process includes the following steps:

  1. Identify an issue of greatest interest and relevance to the youth team.
  2. Define what is known about the issue.
  3. Identify what additional information and research is needed to understand the issue.
  4. Determine the methods and approach the youth team will utilize to collect information.
  5. Use the information for education, understanding, strategic action, and community change.

Want to read more?

Inspiring Youth as Partners, the first report of its series, is great for organizations and individuals preparing to work with young people in an authentic way and who are interested in learning more about youth-led processes, youth-adult partnership, and/or the impacts of participatory action research on youth, adults, and communities. The report highlights the inception of a program led by PHI in partnership with the Network for a Healthy California that first infused YPAR with nutrition education efforts.

Inspiring Youth Growing Change, the second report of its series, consists of stories of local successes where young people have implemented YPAR projects for both program and system level solutions to their pressing health and nutrition concerns in their community.

Inspiring Healthy Communities, the newest report in the series highlights the collective impact and comprehensive approach of the YPAR projects in Los Angeles County. These projects strategically connect schools with their larger communities and leverage genuine youth and adult partnerships in supporting youth voice for healthy community change, in communities that need it the most. 








Interested in learning more?
Please contact CWN at or 916.265.4042 x0.