Ohio Adult Allies

Many young people want to improve the communities and schools in which they live and learn, but they don’t know where to begin. As adults, we have an opportunity to support our young people in leading community change efforts that utilize effective, evidence-based prevention strategies.

Below are tools and resources to help you develop young people’s knowledge, skills and attitudes to create community-level change. These materials were developed and compiled for adult allies by Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, with funding provided by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

Youth Empowerment Conceptual Framework (YECF)

The Youth Empowerment Conceptual Framework (YECF) is one of the frameworks that inform the work of youth-led programs in Ohio. The article below provides a thorough overview of the YECF. A handout of the framework is also available.

Holden, D.J., Messeri, P., Evans, W.D., Crankshaw, E., Ben-Davies, M. (2004). Conceptualizing youth empowerment within tobacco control. Health Education & Behavior, 31, 548-563.

SAMHSA’s Strategic Prevention Framework

SAMHSA’s Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) also informs the work of youth-led programs in Ohio. The websites below provide an overview of the SPF and resources for communities:

Community-Level Strategic Plan Map

The Community-Level Strategic Plan Map helps youth-led groups articulate their theory of change and theory of action for influencing change. The annotated handout demonstrates how each component of the strategic plan map relates to each other. An example of a completed Community-Level Strategic Plan Map is also available, along with a blank copy for individual use.

Individual and Group Strategic Plan Map

Young people need the guidance of adults in order to engage in the Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) and implement a strategic plan that uses evidence-based strategies to influence community-level change. The Individual and Group Strategic Plan Map is designed to help adult allies articulate a theory of change and theory of action for developing young people’s knowledge, skills and attitudes to engage in this process. The annotated handout demonstrates how each component of the Individual and Group Strategic Plan Map relates to each other. A blank copy is also available for individual planning and use.

Please note that the Individual and Group Strategic Plan Map was recently revised based on feedback from Ohio’s Adult Allies and therefore we do not have a current example of a completed document.

Activity Templates

Once adult allies have developed their overarching theory of change and outlined their theory of action, they can begin developing program activities designed to bolster the specific knowledge, skills and attitudes they determined their young people and group need. The Activity Template is designed to help adult allies intentionally plan for their meetings and work with young people.

White Papers

Adult allies throughout the state participated in a study group to deepen their knowledge about the theories that inform youth-led programs. Based on this knowledge, they developed white papers designed to provide information on core content areas that are critical for adult allies to understand in order to be effective facilitators of youth-led programs.

Ohio Adult Allies YouTube Channel

For additional information and resources on how Ohio is using the YECF and SPF to inform the work of youth-led programs, we encourage you to visit the Ohio Adult Allies YouTube Channel.


To learn more, contact Ohio University Research Associate Jessica Collura at 740-597-9512 or colluraj@ohio.edu.