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LOL: Living Out

Youth to be confident)
Gender Identity Evaluation Plan
Youth Development Leadership Program Evaluation
Dr. Barry Garst

Stojanna Hollis

Program Evaluation Plan


Alternative lifestyles within youth has become predominantly one of the most
challenging topics for youth to overcome, come out, and feel comfortable with in
this generation. A lot of times players, staff members, and associates hide their
sexuality based on other peoples perceptions, fears of losing their job, being
mistreated, and ultimately feeling abandoned. Therefore, Ive decided to facilitate a
program called Living Out Loud (LOL). This program is designed to empower youth
starting at age 14 to 15(9th and 10th graders) on how to be confident in who they are
and the lifestyle they have ultimately chosen to live. Living Out Loud will be a
program based in Clemson, South Carolina but will be run online to help individuals
nationwide. This upcoming generation has struggles with identity and finding ways
to feel comfortable and accepted in society while trying to gather the strength to
come out. This program will be used to empower, motivate, and connect youth to
mentors, psychologists, and resource officers that can help them overcome their
fears, and prosper with confidence. Ive ultimately learned over the years that
people dont commit suicide because they want to die, but because they dont know
how to live and deal with life limitations and circumstances at the given time. Living
Out Loud will give these youth and young adults a chance to have a voice and be
confident in themselves.
My goals for this program are to help and give youth an outlet and a voice to
be able to be comfortable in themselves and their lifestyle. This program is to
provide the proper resources necessary to empower these individuals to become
successful but most importantly confident. Living Out Loud is a program that will
have representatives available on all social media sites and a toll free 800 number.
This program will partner with professionals from across the world.

The individuals emotional needs are the biggest things that need to get
evaluated. Young people will discuss how they felt before seeking LOL and if the
help provided was necessary and empowering, if their confidence level has
changed, and most importantly if the workers have been committed and
encouraging in their job of helping the youth. For example, if an individual were to
reach out to the program from social media and give us their interest in the
program, we would then have them fill out a survey. This survey would ask basic
demographic questions as well as giving us the opportunity to understand
specifically the area of difficulty theyre having. Survey data will be part of the
process because this is like the starting point. Some people struggle emotionally,
others may struggle mentally. This will provide us with the necessary information to
get them connected to the right counselor, psychologist, and mentor. At the end of
each conversation regardless if its through chat or over the phone, the participant
will be asked to complete a survey based on satisfaction and their well-being. This
will be able to effectively let us see how were helping or not helping the
The stakeholders that are involved within this program will consist of the
following: mentors, psychologists, participants (youth), the administrative board,
and a personal evaluation consultant. The mentors, psychologists, and participants
will serve a great purpose because they can give their opinions on how the
information is helping or hindering the individuals. Also, mentors have an intuition
on whether were helping someone. When I speak with young people who are
struggling with their identity I can tell on the phone or in person if Im making a
difference. Also by youth and young adults doing surveys this will give them a
chance to voice their opinions. LOL would consist of an evaluation consultant,

because like many organizations and programs we may feel as though we are
tackling the issues and helping our participants when actually we are not. While
interacting with the youth my goal would be to get to the root of the problem,
provide them with the right knowledge and the right line of connections to help
overcome their fears of having an alternative lifestyle. The relationship with the
mentors, psychologists, and board members would involve information on how to
help them grow professionally.
Type of Evaluation
Outcome/impact evaluation, efficiency analysis and needs assessment will be
the most relevant types of evaluations that will be used throughout this program.
These evaluations will offer the end results, the impact that the mentors and
counselors will have with the youth throughout the process and the effectiveness of
this program with helping them become proud and comfortable with themselves.
Summative evaluation would be the ultimate decision for Living out Loud, because
of the goal intended for the youth. However, I will always read surveys that
participants fill out, and listen to staff members and their opinions on ways to help
improve the program. The potential consequences for this program and this type of
evaluation consist of: help provided does not help motivate or encourage youths,
young people are scared to seek help, staff do not acquire the knowledge needed to
impact these youths, and the marketing tragedy does not work to gather
Guiding Questions

Are administrative and service goals being met? If so, how fully are they
being met?

Are participants satisfied with the services provided?

Is the problem, situation, or circumstances that LOL is intended to address

handled/addressed and made better?

Are the youths receiving the proper amount, type and quality of services?
Do participants engage in appropriate follow-up behavior after service?
Are participants satisfied with their interactions with program personnel and

Literature Review
Homosexuality is one of the most compelling lifestyles that are on the horizon
for acceptance within the 21st Century. Youth are starting to realize and recognize
their identity at ages as young as 10 years old. The purpose of this study is to
evaluate Living Out Loud (LOL) program to give youth an online outlet to network,
connect, and meet with mentors, psychologists, and other youth that struggle with
the same consequences once figuring out their identity.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word bully as a person who uses
strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker. Studies suggest that
10% to 30% of 9 to 16 years olds have been affected by bullying on a regular basis.
Daniel Pontzer (2010) gives a more expansive definition, stating, The act of
bullying is when a physically, mentally, or psychologically advantaged individual, or
advantaged in some other way (such as belonging to a group) inflicts harm on a
weaker individual for no justifiable reason. A lot of times youth suffer from different
forms of bullying which ultimately cause long-term and short term damage
(mentally, physically, and emotionally).
Direct bullying is sometimes called overt bullying. It includes physical (hitting,
kicking), verbal (name calling, threats, racial or sexual comments) and non-verbal

(offensive or threatening gestures) aggression. These acts are committed face to
face with the victim (Robinson, 2012). Indirect or covert bullying is more
sophisticated. Covert verbal aggression is exemplified by rumor spreading and
character assassination. Youth cover up who they really are because of the fear of
being bullied, manipulated, feeling unloved and lonely. Indirect bullying allows the
aggressors to victimize with far less chance of being exposed (Robinson, 2012).
Newer studies have included cyber-bullying, the use of electronic devices to harass,
spread rumors, and threaten victims. Studies show that the most affected group is
the bully-victims. They tend to risk a variety of problems; both externalized and
internalized (Wang et al., 2012). Nonetheless, male bully-victims are more likely to
commit suicide and female bully-victims have a greater tendency to be an
agoraphobic (Copeland, Wolke, Angold, & Costello, 2013). Further studies have
shown that LGBT children were more likely to carry a weapon if they were the
victims of frequent peer abuse. Youth likelihood of carrying a weapon increased by
50% if they were bullied at school on a weekly basis and it was four times higher if
they were bullied weekly away from school or online. Cyberbullying victims have
higher levels of anxiety and depressive disorders and they are most likely to
attempt suicide.
In the United States, online environments are increasingly settings in which
young people form peer connections develop sexual identities and connect with
larger communities (Manago, Taylor, and Greenfield, 2012). The Internet is largely
regarded as a space with liberatory potential (to free a group or individuals from
social or economic constraints), where young people can form connections without
the stigma associated with their offline identities (McDermott and Roen, 2012).
Facebook provides a particular form of social connection: individuals post

information to reflect their authentic offline self, as well as to cultivate and
maintain relationships on the site. Facebook is the most popular form of online
communication among young people aged 12-17 in the USA; with 94% of this
cohort maintain a profile (Madden, 2012). Jennifer Rubin and Sara McClelland wrote
in their article pertaining to cyberbullying and social media that, outing oneself as a
member of a gender or sexual minority via Facebook can result in cyberbullying or
defriending. Queer young people have therefore remain closeted on Facebook;
some may pass as heterosexual on their profile by hiding their relationship status
or not indicating their own gender identity or the gender of their desired partner. As
a result, and some may say consequence, the number of spaces in which queer
youth can express themselves and share experiences of discrimination are limited
rather than necessarily expanded through social networking. Accordingly, young
people actively participate on Facebook as a way to receive approval from peers
(Manago, Taylor, and Greenfield, 2012) and to construct an online public persona
(Taylor, Falconer, and Snowdon , 2014).
In a ground-breaking piece of research, scholars have also described online
environments as an important tool for practicing same-sex identities (Hillier and
Harrison, 2007), coping with depression and self-harm (McDermott, Roen, and Piela,
2014) and forming supportive peer relationships (Fraser, 2010). Taylor and
colleagues (2014) found that some youth perceived coming out on Facebook as
transformative for their emotional health due to the social support they garnered
from their friend network. However, other youth were reluctant to share their sexual
orientation due to the irreversible consequences of publically stating their sexual
identity. Facebook and other social networking sites affords emotional and social
benefits to young people, such as offering a platform to discuss love, sex or things

that young people may be ashamed about, only when they perceive their friend
network as accepting. Living Out Loud will be a platform for youth to be able to
connect via social media with other youth and mentors, advisors, psychologists, etc.
to help with emotional, physical, mentally, and spiritual feelings regardless of their
sexual preference.
Research in the United States has consistently found that lesbian, gay, and
bisexual youth have higher risk of depression, anxiety and suicide than their
heterosexual peers from cyberbullying (Rosario, Schrimshaw, and Hunter ,2011) and
increases for substance use (Darwich, Hymel, and Waterhouse ,2012). Additionally,
lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals who conceal their sexual orientation via social
media from their social relationships are at risk for increased stress hormone levels
(Juster et al., 2013) and decreased mental health (Rothman et al. ,2012). Research
has found that micro aggression- in the form of daily verbal or behavioral insults
towards members of oppressed groups can have negative mental health
consequences for individuals who experience it (Madal et al., 2011). Furthermore, a
national study in the United States found that 25% of youth said that they were
bullied at least monthly (Ybarra, boyd, Korchmaros, & Oppenheim, 2012). The
arrival of smart phones and social media has introduced a new form of this age-old
scourge. Another study found that rates of reported online harassment among US
internet users aged 10-17 years increased by 83% over the last decade (Finkelhor,
2013). Nonetheless, 49% of LGBTs 14-24 year olds in the United States said they
have experienced verbal abuse through social media (Thompson, Benz, &Agiesta,
2013), while other studies showed that LGBT teens using social-media aged 12-17
years showed that 88% said they had witnessed other people being mean or cruel
on a social networking site (Lenhart et al., 2011).

According to Bronfenbrenner, youth grow up within a series of nested sociocultural systems that impact their development, either directly or indirectly. The
most immediate and directly influential system is the microsystem, examples of
which include the family, school, and after-school settings. In this upcoming
generation our youth spend a lot of time and energy with social media, family,
friends, and other after school settings. If LOL can create and after school
atmosphere that can help youth struggling with their sexual identities then the
world, school system, families, communities, and organization could be a greater
place. Our youth are the faces of our generation and regardless of their sexual
preference they should still have the opportunity to succeed and be treated fairly.
LOL will give these youth a place of safe haven and ultimately a network and
community of individuals that believe in them. Ian Rivers described in a book by Bill
Roberts entitled, The Journey toward a World Free from Homophobic Bullying: A
Review of Homophobic Bullying: Research and Theoretical Perspectives that it was
only through the Internet that he was able to talk to other gay people and establish
a sense of self-worth (Rivers, 2011, p. 148).
Youth struggling with sexuality identity will compose of the individuals being
evaluated in this process. Research suggests there is no high school in the Upstate
area that has an organization to support the LGBTQ community or the SC GSA
(South Carolina Gay Straight Alliance) organization. Therefore, I plan to attend
Southside High School located in Greenville, South Carolina quarterly on behalf of
LOL to have public speaking engagements for students in 9 th and 10th grade.
Speaking engagement will resemble how D.A.R.E (Drug Abuse Resistance
Education) operates in elementary and middle schools. Like the D.A.R.E. program I

will be the personal speaker for LOL and inform students about LGBTQ, GSA, young
people struggling with identity issues, bullying and harassment issues thats being
ignored in the gay and lesbian community. Following my presentation I will allow
students, teachers, and other administrative members to ask questions. However,
because of the sensitivity of this subject I will give each person LOL contact
information. Nonetheless, I will hand-out a survey to students, teachers and
administrative workers, before dismissing the student body.
Surveys will be anonymous and will allow the students to tell: if they are
struggling with identity issues, if they know of someone within their grade level
thats struggling with this issue, and how they would like to get help with their
concerns. The teachers and administration survey will be anonymous as well, but
this survey will allow the staff to give their feedback on how they may or may not
have had an encounter with youth that is struggling with their identity and ways
that LOL can provide them with helpful information to give to their students. I am
conscious that there may be some adults struggling with their identity as well,
however, for the purpose of this evaluation plan my primary focus will be on youth.
As each student, teacher, and staff member turn in their survey they will be given a
contact card with LOL organization information. This will allow students, teachers,
and administrative members to write anonymous letters (i.e. dear Abbie letters) to
us with their concerns (via email or through the mail). With this feedback LOL will be
able to better assist the Upstate area and possibly other regions. Southside High
School has an enrollment of 837 students. However, for the purpose of this program
I will only speak with 9th and 10th graders and their teachers.
Data Collection

Data gathering is such an intricate part to the success and failure of this
program. While I intend on using survey methods to collect data it will consist of
qualitative methods. Getting feedback from participants (youth 14 and 15), teachers
and administrative staff members are important pieces to this program. Gathering
one word responses can be feasible for this program; however, the plan is to
provide questions within surveys to gather short answer responses.
The purpose behind these surveys will be to gather information to help the
program be successful. This program will focus on the needs of youth and their
expectations. Therefore, if the expectations and desires are mention prematurely
then everyone will be on the right track to make Living out Loud one of the most
successful online programs/organization within the Upstate area.
The purpose of gathering information at the beginning of the program will be
to ensure that the needs, expectations, and desires are met throughout the
program. If the needs are not being met then the program cannot be successful.
Finally, gathering information at the end of the program will measure the success of
the program and to compare the final result to the information obtained at the
beginning of the program. Overall, I plan to collect data throughout my program to
ensure that a change is occurring.
To ensure a high response rate Living Out Loud will promote incentives, such
as: t-shirts and visa gift cards. Incentives will work as followed; for the first 50
participants to fill out a survey in its entirety they will receive the promoted
incentive, for the first 20 staff members to fill out the survey they will receive the

promoted incentive, and for the first 20 volunteers to fill out a survey they will also
receive an incentive.
Measurement Instruments
Focus Groups and Surveys
LOL will use focus groups as a way to gather data as well as skype or
FaceTime interviews. These personal interviews will be conducted with participants,
volunteers and staff members to help LOL be more successful. The organization will
also use participant surveys. These particular surveys will gain information about
participants feelings, opinions, likes and dislikes about LOL. This survey will offer a
section for participants to explain how this organization has helped them overcome
the obstacles that were once a challenge for them. Staff/volunteer surveys will be
completed at the end of each online session. While each session is confidential and
will contain pertinent information in regards to LOL success, gaining opinions and
insight from volunteer and staff workers will also help mold LOL into a dominant
online organization. Gathering information through these surveys from
staff/volunteer workers will give feedback from the perspective of the
staff/volunteer workers on what they felt was successful and what was not. This can
be the biggest step in guiding the program in the right direction because by gaining
the knowledge about the participants from the staff/volunteers can help steer this
program in the right direction.
Each youth will complete a survey at the end of the first online session and
again following the second online session. This offers the staff and volunteers

information about each participant and their growth within the program. At the start
of each meeting the staff/volunteer will ask each participant certain questions.
These questions will be used to gain information about the participant physical,
emotional, and spiritual, well-being. At the end of each session the participant will
be asked the same set of questions to see if they were receptive to the information
provided and if the information had made a change. Not only will these questions
serve as a purpose for a survey but will also help guide this program in the right
direction to ensure that LOL is making a difference in our youth lives.
Finally the following measurement instruments will help collect data that will
support answering the guiding evaluation questions. Surveys will help gain a better
insight on what the staff/volunteer and participants are thinking and feeling prior to
online sessions and post online sessions. This gives the staff/volunteer a chance to
measure the competence and feeling of the participants and if they comprehend the
information provided. During the first session a survey will be completed so the staff
can have an idea of what the participant is feeling and struggling with. Following the
last session the same survey will be completed to see if any changes have occurred
pertaining to emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. At the end of
each month the information obtained will be compared to the feelings, emotions,
and needs of youth already involved in LGBTQ organizations. This will ensure that
the program is on the right track and if any changes need to be made then the
program will ultimately have time to make the most appropriate changes to ensure
that the evaluation questions are answered.
Reliability and validity

Reliability is the consistency or repeatability of measures. Reliability
cannot be calculated however, it can be estimated. Trustworthiness is a qualitative
version of reliability and validity and member checking and clarifying bias are two
topics that relate to LOL.
Member Checking
Member checking involves information thats discovered while talking to the
participant. For example, within LOL each participant will have access to mentors,
psychologists, to help them cope with identity issues that they are struggling with.
Participants will receive feedback from the specific staff member that they are
having an encounter with at the designated time. Staff members in return will have
the opportunity to give the participant their feedback on information they gathered
while speaking with them. This information can include issues such as participant
feeling bullied, harassed, ashamed, emotionally disappointed, lonely, and
depressed. Staff would then give the participant feedback as far as the information
and issues they felt the participant was portraying or struggling with. Nevertheless,
the participant will have the opportunity to tell the staff member if the information
they gathered is valid or invalid.
Clarifying Bias
As a former student athlete and now a graduate assistant for the Womens
basketball team at Clemson University, I have had the issue of gender identity (not
in the form of my sexuality). One common factor that I have had the opportunity to
recognize over the years is that individuals struggle with the acceptance factor of
being a homosexual in todays society. Although I am a heterosexual woman I still
struggle with being accepted in todays society. A lot of times people may not

understand why I choose to date some of the people that I date and just like
individuals struggling with their identity the common factor between the two are
that we want the world to accept who we are and what we do and just show
respect. I understand that everyone will not always agree or approve but the
common ground can be given by respecting one another.

Resources and Potential Barriers

A host of resources will be needed in order to apply an online
program/organization for youth struggling with sexual identity. The staff/volunteers
will ultimately be the most intricate part of this organization. Having a well-balanced
and trained staff in each position is ultimately the most complex goal to reach.
Gathering and obtaining stakeholders that will be on board with the vision is a
necessary need. While funding wont be needed in order to start the program online
it will be necessary to hire trained staff and obtain necessary material for incentives
for participants, staff, and volunteers. Funds will ultimately be needed in order to
have the proper surveys and measurement instruments to ensure a successful
program. While stakeholders, qualified staff and volunteers are needed participants
and buy-in from the participants are also needed. Participation from the LGBTQ
community will also be necessary. Finally, but nonetheless, the involvement with
time and being precise with surveys completed by staff/volunteers and participants
will ultimately be the biggest resource needed. This will ensure that the staff is on
the right track to guiding these youth to a healthy lifestyle and acceptable lifestyle
with who they are.

While resources may be needed potential barriers can also hinder LOL from
being a successful program. LOL can face online problems that can cause the
program to undergo possible delay times with meetings and sessions. While internet
malfunctions can hinder the program from operating smoothly it can also cause a
glitch within the results and completion of surveys. Also, if participants are not
willing to complete surveys due to the time spent online, but with the promotion of
incentives with each participant completing the survey this will help eliminate this
kind of issue. The lack of survey completion can cause insufficient evidence and
data within the program which would ultimately make it difficult to obtain data to
measure. Not having participant become comfortable enough to speak with
someone about their sexuality can ultimately become the biggest challenge. If
participants are not willing to speak out and gain help then the program will be a
failure. Without participants LOL cannot exist.
With a strategic plan and a concrete set of evaluation questions Living Out
Loud will be able to effectively evaluate the growth in youth struggling with gender
identity issues. Members of LOL must all be able to understand the goals, be
properly trained, and be willing to buy-in to the program to ensure the best results
possible for our youth. Cooperation from the participants to speak openly about
their issues will allow the staff an opportunity to apply the knowledge and resources
applicable to ensure the desired outcomes by all, to be able to LIVE OUT LOUD!!


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