Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2012, $239,978)
This program seeks to enhance what is understood about mentoring as a prevention strategy for youth who are at risk of involvement or already involved in the juvenile justice system. While mentoring appears to be a promising intervention for youth, more evaluation work is needed to further highlight the components of a mentoring program that are most effective. Research is also needed to demonstrate the specific components of mentoring programs that have a significant impact in reducing juvenile delinquency and offending. This program funds research studies that will inform the design and delivery of mentoring programs. OJJDP expects that the results of this effort will encourage a more effective utilization of resources as well as enhance the implementation of evidence-based best practices for juvenile mentoring. This program is authorized by the Department of Justice Appropriations Act, 2012, Public Law 112-55.
The goal of this mixed-method study is to assess factors that contribute to successful mentoring matches and improved outcomes for at-risk youth participating in a school-based mentoring program offered by Big Brothers Big Sisters Greater Twin Cities (BBBS-GTC). Because match success is related to better youth outcomes, two objectives will focus on describing 1) characteristics of successful school-based matches between mentors and youth; and 2) factors leading to better retention of mentors. The estimated target population consists of 750 mentors (called "Bigs") and their mentees ("Littles", youth age 5-18), residing in the Twin Cities metro area, who will be participating in the school-based program during the 2012-13 school year. We will use both new and existing data to address these aims. Sources of new data include online surveys of Bigs, interviews with select Bigs, and focus groups with BBBS-GTC match support staff. Existing data will include BBBS-GTCs youth outcome surveys and strength of relationship surveys from Littles and Bigs.