Youth Civic Engagement in China: Results From a Program Promoting Environmental Activism

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China is a key player on the global stage, and nearly 300 million Chinese youth stand to be affected by rapid social and ecological transformations. Programs that promote developmental assets in Chinese youth could increase their resilience in the face of contemporary stressors and enhance their capacity to contribute to China's development. In this paper we describe a unique, service-learning approach to youth development, the Jane Goodall Institute's Roots & Shoots program (R&S), as it is implemented in China. Through qualitative and quantitative methods we explore perceptions of program impact on the personal and social development of Chinese youth. Cultural, sociopolitical, and environmental issues related to program practices, outcomes and viability are highlighted. Results suggest that R&S mobilized Chinese youth to work for the benefit of their environment, their communities, and themselves.