contra costa UCCE YPAR team

Strengthening Pathways

Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) and Career Pathways in CalFresh Healthy Living, University of California Programming

This documentation was compiled by the UC Davis School of Education (Nancy Erbstein, Associate Professor of Education in Residence, PI) and Center for Regional Change (Brandon Louie, Director of Community Engagement, and Edith Duran, Community Engagement Coordinator) and commissioned by the CalFresh Healthy Living, University of California State Office as part of its Youth Engagement Initiative. Kyle Taniguchi and Katherine Menendez, from the UC Davis Center for Regional Change, provided design and accessibility support for the report. This report reflects technical assistance provided by the UC Davis School of Education, the Center for Regional Change and the CalFresh Healthy Living, University of California State Office, and centrally, the dedication and hard work of the UCCE staff and youth teams in the profiled programs.


This report documents the work of six CalFresh Healthy Living, University of California county programs that facilitated youth participatory action research (YPAR) projects as part of the Youth Engagement Initiative during Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2023. YPAR is a process that engages young people in using the tools of research to critically assess conditions that shape their lives, with the goal of supporting action to improve those conditions. Highlighted here are diverse examples of YPAR in action within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed). In California, the name for the federal SNAP-Ed program is CalFresh Healthy Living. After a brief introduction, this report profiles each YPAR project facilitated during FFY 2023. It concludes with an examination of lessons learned from these case studies, with a focus on use of the Youth Career Pathways Toolkit developed in FFY 2022 and continued piloting of a scaffolded approach to YPAR training and facilitation. These case studies and their promising practices offer examples of what is possible as youth and program facilitators craft youth-led policy, systems, and environmental change interventions that fit the specific needs and circumstances of their unique communities.

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