Teen Outreach Program (TOP)

An Evidence-Based Practice


The Teen Outreach Program (TOP) is a developmental intervention that attempts to help teens understand and evaluate their life options. The program is designed to prevent problem behaviors in adolescents. It is based on the notion that (1) a heightened awareness of life options, (2) increased knowledge of those options and how to effectively pursue them, and (3) enhanced and diverse experiences with various life options will lead to a variety of positive outcomes, primarily scholastic success as measured by reduced course failure and suspension rates and a decrease in pregnancy rates. Based on the principles of youth development, and the social emotional well-being and mental health of teens, TOP provides teens with the necessary supports and opportunities to prepare for successful adulthood and avoid problem behavior.

Goal / Mission

The program aims to develop healthy behaviors, life skills, and a sense of purpose in order to prevent problem behaviors.

Results / Accomplishments

In operation since 1976, TOP has approximately 1500 program locations across the United States, reaching an estimated 30,000 youth. According to a national study conducted in 2001, teens that participate in the TOP are at 52% lower risk of school suspension (p<.001), 60% lower risk of course failure (p<.001), and 53% lower risk of pregnancy (p<.001).

The Primary Project has received numerous awards and recognitions, including being designated a "Promising Prevention Program" by the U.S. Department of Education's Safe, Disciplined and Drug-Free Schools Expert Panel, being recognized as one of five exemplary prevention programs in the nation in "Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General (December 1999)", National Mental Health Association's Lela Rowland Award for Outstanding Prevention Programs (1989), and being validated through New York State's Education Department as a successful program.

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Teen Outreach Program
600 Kiwanis Drive
St. Louis, MO 63025
(636) 549-1238
Health / Teen & Adolescent Health
Social Environment / Volunteerism & Charitable Donations
Education / Student Performance K-12
Wyman Center
Promising Practices Network
Date of publication
Nov 2001
Date of implementation
For more details
Target Audience

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