Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Education and Human Services


Family Science and Human Development

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Robert Reid

Committee Member

Brad Forenza

Committee Member

Jason Williams


Historically Black youth have been labeled as needing to be “saved” and “fixed” because they are “at-risk,” “broken,” and more likely to subscribe to deviant behavior. This deficit rhetoric frames community-based education programs (CBEPs) that serve Black youth as vital spaces that must prevent and save Black youth from subscribing to undesirable behaviors. Therefore, this study builds on the paucity of literature regarding CBEPs as spaces that view Black youth as valuable and worthy and encourage youth to critically examine the world around them, often withholding opportunities and resources. With critical consciousness (Freire, 1968) as the framework, this qualitative study sought to understand if critical consciousness manifested within eleven Black youth participating in a CBEP. The CBEP within this study is located in the third most densely populated community within the Northeast. Semi-structured interviews were the primary data source, and a constant comparative analysis was done to identify emerging themes across these data. Findings contribute to the small asset framing of CBEP literature and allow Black youth the opportunity to counter narrate the CBEP experiences and deficit views placed on them. Findings provide implications for future research, practice, and policymakers.

File Format