Creating "turning points" in the lives of youth residing in high-risk communities: Participation and response to school-based mentoring and impact on academic outcomes

Date of Completion

January 2006


Education, Guidance and Counseling|Education, Educational Psychology|Sociology, Individual and Family Studies




This study examines a school-based intervention program that was designed to help youth residing in an inner-city do well in school, and plan and prepare for post secondary education. Research in adolescence, resiliency, education, and prevention, together, shows that youth development is mediated by relationships with others and influenced by the environment. However, in order to further our understanding of the supports and pathways that lead youth to the outcomes we want, we need to understand program impact in the contexts of youth's everyday lives. Contemporary models for youth programs are attempting to include three intervention paradigms---prevention, resilience, and promoting positive development (Gambone, Klem, & Connell, 2002). This study translated youth development constructs into a systematic approach for understanding the ways in which programs impact youth in the contexts of their everyday lives, and then linked these constructs to long term outcomes. There were identifiable patterns of change among subgroups, and there was meaningful overlap on student responsiveness, problem behaviors and risk factors, and promoting processes. Furthermore, the results of the analyses support the use of an intervention framework that incorporates the three paradigm strategies: prevention, resilience, and promoting positive youth development. Based on the results, the project was able to mitigate exposure to risk in some cases, and in other cases, the project was able to promote positive development.^