SOS logo

Spirit of the the Sun CYFAR grant project.


Spirit of the Sun (S.O.S.) is a five-year dynamic program that engages youth and fosters partnerships with adults in the community to address community issues. Our program model of civic engagement is based on the work of the Youth Leadership Development Initiative (YLDI), combining both civic engagement practices and youth development principles. S.O.S. actively engages youth in a comprehensive civic engagement process that prepares young people to demonstrate the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviors necessary for fulfilling contributing lives.

To accomplish this objective, S.O.S. provides a forum and context where youth in collaboration with adults identify community issues relevant to teens and then develop an action plan to resolve those issues. We believe that involving youth in community issues that directly impact them establishes youth as a vital part of the community. Further, engaged youth are challenged to seek solutions that benefit both youth and the overall community.

By establishing strong youth/adult partnerships in the community and addressing community issues, S.O.S. benefits the community by engaging the creative energy of youth and benefits youth by connecting them to the community. The primary desired result of S.O.S. is to provide participants with the supports and opportunities necessary for their successful transition to young adulthood including the ability to gain meaningful employment, build positive social and personal relationships, and to contribute to their communities.


SOS Program Goals and Objectives

The purpose of this program is twofold: a) to develop pilot community sites for after-school programs that promote positive youth development and b) to establish a program model that can be replicated in sites across the state. To initiate the program, we are working with two diverse sites: Tucson , AZ in Pima County , represents the urban youth population and Douglas , AZ in Cochise County , represents the rural youth population.

This is a collaborative community program that includes University of Arizona faculty and research personnel, Cooperative Extension Agents and 4H Agents, and established community organizations working together to support the youth in our state in successfully transitioning to adulthood.

The specific objectives of this proposal are to develop a model for engaging youth in community by:

  • Developing a broad base of projects offered by community-based youth programs;
  • Expanding the number of youth who will benefit from participation;
  • Documenting the processes that contribute to effective youth development in community settings

SOS Program Links

Program Background and Accomplishments
CYFAR Guiding Principles
Program Implementation Plan
SOS Tucson
SOS Douglas


Links to our partners:

The Skrappy's home page:

The SEABHS home page:

The myspace page:

  The Spirit of the Sun (SOS) project website is in development. Please check back again for more details and information about the project. If you need to contact us, please email us at