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 youths’ 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 drop-out 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
Young offender (18-24) Power Source program graduating class within San Quentin State Prison

Why it Works

Power Source is an evidence-based SEL program developed by clinicians who work directly with trauma-impacted youth in a variety of settings. Power Source combines empirically-backed, evidence-based interventions with real-world language, concepts, and stories directly from systems-involved youth. Power Source is both preventative and rehabilitative. This developmentally-focused program integrates cognitive-behavioral approaches with mindfulness-based practices through engaging, high-impact exercises and discussions. Power Source is structured to teach and scaffold specific self-regulation and interpersonal skills, reduce offending and harmful behavior, help youth heal from the impact of abuse and neglect, and foster resilience and empowerment.

Program Resources

The Power Source Program includes a range of materials that allow for multiple intervention options, and is easily deliverable in a highly flexible, user-friendly format depending on the needs and resources of your setting. Power Source can be used as a standalone program, as an adjunct to existing programming, and all Power Source materials can be used with youth individually or in groups. Resources include:


for high risk youth
Book (Spanish)
for high risk youth
Facilitator Manual
for use both in groups and individually
for high risk youth
DVD series
for youth that augments the curriculum

Here Are Two Ways to Deliver the Power Source Program

Approach 1

Power Source Book + Workbook 

This approach provides high-impact exercises, with little time needed for planning and preparing for groups. It allows Power Source to be delivered in a highly flexible format (youth can read and work independently, or the material can be used in individual sessions or in groups).

Approach 2

Power Source Book + Facilitator Manual

This approach is useful for facilitators looking to implement a manualized curriculum. All sessions are fully scripted and can be used in groups or individually. Included in this version is access to our Power Source Online Resources, a repository of additional exercises, role-plays, meditations, and resources. 

Add an extra boost of power to your groups! Check out the Power Source Video Series and Power Source Posters which reinforce key skills and concepts.


Research and ongoing program evaluation are critical components of ensuring that our resources are not only effective, but are revised to incorporate the growing body of knowledge in the fields of social and emotional learning, trauma, and effective treatment delivery.