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Children in Crisis: An Asset-Based Approach to Working With Vulnerable Youth

East Baltimore
3rd Term
Population, Family and Reproductive Health
Academic Year
2022 - 2023
Instruction Method
Class Time(s)
Monday, 5:30 - 7:30pm
Auditors Allowed
Yes, with instructor consent
Available to Undergraduate
Grading Restriction
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructor(s)
Contact Name
Frequency Schedule
Every Year
Students should take this course because they, like us, believe that young people and communities have strengths and assets to address public health problems. This course is solutions focused and infused with perspectives of people who work with vulnerable young people daily. Students will learn about the common elements of assets-based approaches and be asked to apply them to across contexts and populations. Here's what previous students have said: "The structure was great, I especially enjoyed being exposed to community groups." "I loved this course - the material felt super relevant, and really appreciated hearing the perspectives of guest speakers (especially young people!)."
Uses experienced practitioners, community leaders, and community members to expose students to a wide range of domestic youth health, welfare issues and interventions through an asset lens. Using an asset-based approach, the class highlights domestic youth challenges (e.g., disconnection, homelessness, LGBTQ status and justice involvement) and aims to expose students to thoughts, voices, and perspectives from a variety of different backgrounds. Class sessions feature ample discussion, expert lecturers, youth voices, and an examination of existing programs in and out of Baltimore City. Some students are concurrently enrolled in a practicum component of the course. Classroom discussion will focus on the experiences of practitioners and students and the issues they see youth in the community facing. Overall both practicum and non-practicum students alike will have the chance to read, reflect and discuss programs and interventions that positively impact youth domestically.
Learning Objectives
Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  1. Describe the social, political, and economic conditions that perpetuate young people’s at-risk status
  2. Assess adolescent health needs, as well as the assets and capacities in a community that affect adolescent health
  3. Assess the extent to which youth programs, interventions and initiatives across contexts and vulnerable youth populations use common elements of asset-based approaches
Methods of Assessment
This course is evaluated as follows:
  • 30% Quizzes
  • 30% Discussion Board
  • 20% Assignments
  • 15% Final Presentation
  • 5% Peer-feedback
Special Comments

Students have the option to participate in a 128-hour Practicum component associated with this course. Students will be required to apply in advance with Tyler Derreth ( at SOURCE by November 1st. For the practicum, students will be connected with a pre-selected Baltimore-based youth organization. They will work with the community contact person to engage in a service-learning project.

Students participating in the practicum must register for both the main course (380.640 - 3rd term only) and Practicum component (SOURCE Special Studies code for 2 credits, 380.840 - 3rd and 4th term).