Purpose: Despite many cultural assets, Latino youth experience high rates of school drop-out and for middle school youth, disproportionate tobacco and other substance use.The Resiliency Paradigm suggests that teacher and school connectedness are associated with decreased youth participation in negative health behaviors including substance use and increased participation in health promoting behaviors. The purpose of this study was to describe the views of key informants working with Latino youth regarding how educators may best promote Latino youth resiliency.Our ultimate goal is to develop educator focused programming to promote resiliency and reduce tobacco and other substance use. Methods: We recruited ten key informants who the communitycollaborative board of this community-based participatory research study identified as working successfully with Latino youth.All participants approached completed a semi-structured interview during spring 2011.Questions focusing on Latino youth included defining resiliency, identifying contributors and barriers to resiliency, successful approaches to promoting resiliency, and identifying means for teacher promotion of resiliency. Participants completed a demographic survey.Audio tapes were transcribed.Three research team members read all transcripts and developed a coding structure.One team member then coded all transcripts.Research team members reviewed coding and identified major and minor themes.Descriptive analysis of survey was conducted using SPSS. Community confirmation of findings occurred through feedback to the community-collaborative board. Results: Participants were 50% females, 70% Latino and 30% Caucasian. 30% of participants were teachers, 30% were school youth workers, and 40% were community youth workers.They had worked with Latino youth for an average of 12 years.Resilient Latino youth were recognized by their adaptability in challenging environments, independence, sociability, and responsibility.They were described as having ganas-the inner drive and motivation to want something. Contributors to Resiliency included family support, fulfilling adult responsibilities in the family, and having positive role models.Barriers to Resiliency included economic challenges leading to family disruption and a lack of educational opportunities. Social barriers included challenges with English language for parents and youth, and balancing majority and Latino cultural values.Successful Approaches to Promoting Resiliency included building trusting relationships and connections, and conveying respect for youth.Means for conveying respect included recognition of individuality in terms of circumstances and obstacles, and of heterogeneity within the Latino population. Promotion of positive self-awareness and strong cultural identity was identified as crucial.Finally, high expectations in terms of behavior and clear consequences for misbehavior were identified as important for Latino youth.Means for Teachers to Promote Resiliency echoed general approaches focusing on motivation, high expectations, and respect. Barriers teachers face when trying to promote resiliency included time constraints, teacher expectations of youth, academic testing, resources, and training. Conclusions: The approaches to promoting resiliency described by key informants suggest that educators should adopt a strengthsbased orientation that respects and supports youth while maintaining high expectations.A key aspect of respect includes respect for culture.These themes will be utilized to develop questions for focus groups of teachers and ultimately to build an educator-focused resiliency promotion program.
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