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for Youth at Risk

A practical and accessible book written for highly at-risk youth to identify their strengths and take control over their lives, while increasing their understanding of the emotions and beliefs driving their high-risk and offending behavior.


The Power Source Program is an evidence based program designed to empower at risk youth with the social and emotional skills necessary to forge paths of healthy development and disengagement from high risk and offending behaviors. Grounded in a belief in the intrinsic dignity and worth of each person, Power Source guides trauma impacted adolescents and young adults in discovering their own resilience, while also building the skills associated with healthy social, emotional, and identity development. Offering a wide range of tools and resources, Power Source enables facilitators to address youth’s unique socioemotional needs, risk factors, and protective factors through high impact, engaging exercises, role plays, discussions, games, and meditations.

This widely embraced program helps youth:

  • Learn effective strategies for emotion regulation
  • Change negative core beliefs about themselves
  • Reduce engagement in high risk behavior, such as interpersonal violence
  • Heal from histories of trauma
  • Discover alternative coping strategies to substance use
  • Develop resilience and acquire the social and emotional skills associated with success in school, the workplace, and in the world at large

Power Source is listed on CrimeSolutions.gov, a repository of evidence based programs from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). Additionally, Power Source is included in the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s (OJJDP’s) Model Program Guide. The Power Source Facilitator Manual is the product of a multi-year NIH funded randomized controlled trial conducted on the adolescent unit of Rikers Island.

Who it helps

Power Source offers a comprehensive social and emotional learning (SEL) program for virtually any trauma impacted youth engaging in high-risk behaviors. However, Power Source is uniquely designed for systems involved youth, such as those in the juvenile justice or child welfare systems.

Power Source can be facilitated by anyone working with youth at-risk, including mental health professionals, mentors, educators, credible messengers, intervention specialists, outreach workers, direct care staff, and other youth workers.

It can be utilized in a variety of settings, such as:

  • High schools serving trauma impacted youth. Power Source can also supplement dropout prevention and alternative to suspension programming
  • Secure and non-secure detention centers
  • Diversion and alternative to incarceration programs
  • Residential treatment centers and facilities
  • Group homes
  • After school or community based programs
  • Adult prisons housing youth offenders