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Course Catalog

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

International Health
4th term
3 credits
Academic Year:
2013 - 2014
East Baltimore
Class Times:
  • Tuesday,  5:30 - 7:30pm
Auditors Allowed:
Yes, with instructor consent
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Gilbert Burnham
Course Instructors:

Exposes students to domestic and international youth welfare issues and interventions focused on violence, juvenile justice, education and refugee resettlement through service learning pedagogy. Emphasizes personal narratives, experienced practitioners, community members, asset-based community development, and direct youth engagement. Highlights commonalities between international and domestic youth challenges. Class sessions feature discussion, youth voices, expert lectures, and examination of existing programs. Also requires students to work with a youth development organization in Baltimore throughout the term to engage with the community, observe issues discussed in class, and reflect on ways to positively impact youth world-wide. Among others, community placements include programs serving refugee youth, juvenile offenders, out-of-school youth and disadvantaged urban students. JHSPH students, together with youth from their placement, deliver a final presentation.

Learning Objectives:

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe the social, political and economic conditions that place children in crisis situations and perpetuate their at-risk status
  2. Demonstrate how to utilize an asset-based community development model
  3. Define and apply the concept of allophilia as it relates to service learning, community engagement and youth programming
  4. Identify similarities/differences between vulnerable youth circumstances in Baltimore and those in another part of the world while observing the global relevance of working in Baltimore
  5. Recognize best practices in youth interventions from across contexts and explain ways to develop culturally responsible plans to help children currently experiencing crises
  6. Investigate the use of youth voices and personal narratives in the development and improvement of youth programming, and as a supplement to traditional analytical and academic training at JHSPH
  7. Inform, improve, and/or develop a project requested by the community organization by engaging directly with the youth to capture their perspectives and input
  8. Develop a personal approach to working across cultures in the global context and in Baltimore by identifying personal tendencies, stereotypes, strengths and challenges
  9. Integrate one’s learning through the course towards motivations for intellectual, career, and volunteer pursuits
Methods of Assessment:

Class attendance and participation, 15%; weekly reflections, 5%; participation in service-learning project, 50%; reflection paper, 20%; final group presentation, 10%

Instructor Consent:

Consent required for some students

Consent Note:

Consent required for undergraduates. Undergrad consent will not be granted until the first day of class. Interested undergraduate students are encouraged to attend the first day.

For consent, contact:

Jointly Offered With:
Special Comments:

Students are broken into groups and connected with a pre-selected Baltimore-based youth organization. They work with the community contact person to engage with the youth program in a service-learning project. Each group must visit the initiative/youth at least four times for a minimum of eight hours.