Texas Healthy Adolescent Initiative (THAI)

The primary objective of the THAI program is to improve the overall health and well-being of Texas adolescents, 10-18 years of age, and to prepare them with a strong foundation for adult life. The THAI program provides opportunities for local community leadership groups to conduct a local needs assessment and develop a strategic plan for their communities to address adolescent health through a comprehensive youth development approach. following the needs assessment, Seasons of Change (SOC) will develop and implement services that build upon the strengths of young people within each community.

According the the 2007 results from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the report showed that Texas youth are at greater risk than youth across the United States to engage in behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death, disability, and social problems.

Texas needs to strategically address these high-risk behaviors by providing evidence-based comprehensive youth development programs to:

  • increase healthy decision-making
  • increase resiliency in youth
  • delay sexual debut and decrease risk taking behaviors
Examples of behaviors our youth are engaged in:

  • using illicit drugs (i.e. cocaine and methamphetamine)
  • being offered, sold or given drugs by someone on school property
  • not using protection during sexual intercourse
  • using cigarettes through their lifetime and
  • riding with an intoxicated driver

Research has demonstrated that comprehensive youth development programs can increase healthy decision-making, delay sexual debut, increase resiliency and decrease risk taking behaviors in adolescents (University of California, UC ANR Latino/a Teen Pregnancy Prevention Workgroup, 2004).

Research also suggests a strong relationship between education and career plans and protection from adolescent pregnancy (University of California, 2004).

Young people who have skills, goals and social support and opportunities to contribute are less likely to engage in high-risk behaviors than those who lack these skills and supports. Adolescents health should include not only physical health, but also the “multiple process that affect the overall well-being of young people and their capacity to function effectively in everyday life” (Resnick, 2000).

THAI Staff

CEO/President – Tavian Harris

THAI/LCLG Coordinator – Helen Wilborn Wilson

Fred Witherspoon – Program Director

Dr. Jeff Tanner – Project Evaluator

Leslie Denman – Research Assistant