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Future Selves, Motivational Capital, and Mentoring Toward College: Assessing the Impact of an Enhanced Mentoring Program for At-Risk Youth

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2016
42 pages
This report presents the methodology and findings of a 4-year evaluation of an enhanced mentoring program for at-risk youth developed by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta (BBBSMA).
The program evaluated is a new and enhanced program called Mentoring Toward College (MTC), which was launched in 2008 to add an extra layer of mentoring to the BBBSMA's standard community-based program. The extra layer focuses on structured mentoring activities based on the delivery of a specialized curriculum. It is delivered through a combination of activity guides, workshops, and seminars. The goal of the age-appropriate activities is to improve social, emotional, and cognitive development, with a focus on positive attitudes toward self, others, school, and academic achievement. As intended, most of the youth included in the evaluation come from disadvantaged backgrounds and reported problem behaviors. In terms of implementation, the evaluation found that MTC influenced the nature and focus of mentoring as intended, although this influence was limited mainly to male matches in the MTC program. Among male matches in the study, participation in MTC was associated with a higher frequency of 6-month mentoring interactions involving life-skills development and a higher frequency of 8-month mentoring interactions that involved discussions of academics, attendance, the future, and life-skills development. The outcome evaluation compared youth who completed 12 months in the MTC program with the outcomes of those who completed 12 months in the standard mentoring program. Both mentoring programs were associated with improved behaviors and school performance; however, male participants in the MTC program reported lower levels of victimization, aggressive behavior, school delinquency, and general delinquency by the end of the study. The findings suggest that the MTC program has potential for improving the effectiveness of the standard Big Brothers Big Sisters program. 9 tables, 1 figure, and 39 references

Date Published: December 1, 2016