The Teen Connection Project (TCP) was originally developed by Dr. Joseph P. Allen, a clinical psychologist and Hugh Kelly Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia. Dr. Allen’s research interests include adolescent social development and peer relationships, as well as ways to enhance adolescent social and emotional development.
The inspiration for TCP came from Dr. Allen’s experience as an adolescent, as well as his conversations with adolescents. He found that when adolescents were part of supportive peer groups, it benefitted their overall high school experience. He became interested in identifying the ingredients in supportive peer groups and the idea of intentionally creating these groups. Initial development of TCP relied on feedback on the interests and needs of youth from Wyman staff in after-school programs in the St. Louis region and Wyman partner sites in St. Louis, Missouri and El Paso, Texas.
In 2014 and 2015, Dr. Allen wrote the TCP Curriculum and began piloting TCP activities in Virginia and, in partnership with Wyman, in St. Louis. Funding to Dr. Allen from the William T. Grant Foundation supported the expansion of TCP in partnership with Wyman as part of a rigorous evaluation study. Through this research-practice partnership, TCP was delivered to 326 youth in high schools in the St. Louis area. Since the end of the research project, Wyman has continued to deliver TCP in the St. Louis region. Wyman’s national replication of TCP began in Spring 2019 with the recruitment of 5 National Network partners to participate in a pilot during the 2019-2020 school year. A portion of the pilot was funded by the Youthbridge Community Foundation’s Think Big for Kids grant.
Summary of TCP Results