Young people’s decisions to engage or disengage in community activities can be attributed to their perceptions of community resources and opportunities. This study examined South African rural young adults’ perceptions of their future communities and influences on engaging in health promoting activities and community leadership. Survey data were collected from 58 youth and 52 young adults affiliated with key community organizations. Correlational analysis examined perceptions of community resources and participation in community leadership. Perceptions about the future of their communities differed by age, educational attainment, employment status, and number of years spent in the community and were strongly correlated with how youth and young adults perceive they are valued. Local organizations such as schools and churches can motivate at-risk youth and young adults to participate in community life. This research extends our knowledge of factors important for engaging this population in resource-limited rural settings.

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