Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2007, $1,200,000)
The ASPIRA Association, an organization dedicated to the education and development of Latino youth proposes to accomplish the following: a) significantly expand its current youth development model through ASPIRA Clubs in schools and community settings in low-income, inner city, mostly Latino communities across the country, b) formally integrate ASPIRA mentoring and parental engagement program models to create a comprehensive service delivery model; and c) document and demonstrate the effectiveness and efficiency of the model through rigorous research and evaluation. The program will focus on in-school and out-of-school youth from low-income inner cities between the ages of 12 and 17. Special emphasis will be placed on serving girls and particularly new immigrants who are at a higher risk of dropping out of school and joining gangs.
Among the protective factors the program will address are: resiliency; asset building; positive identity and self-esteem; strengthening families; mentoring; community service; and cultural awareness and competency. The program will be conducted at 10 centers (in schools or local community centers during the academic school year as an after-school program ' five existing centers and five new centers) for a total of 500 students in the following areas: Bridgeport, CT; Chicago, IL; Miami, FL; Newark, NJ; Philadelphia, PA; New York City, and Carolina, PR.
The evaluation will focus on program implementation (process - e.g., participant recruitment, program delivery and program organization/structure) and outcomes (actual attainment of the program's measurable objectives). Each of these measures will be assessed quarterly and annually over the project span. Both process and outcome variables will be measured at the program, systems, and individual levels. This will be accomplished by: a) tracking participant progress from intake to program completion and follow-up at 6-month and yearly intervals; b) assessing individual gains; c) comparing results with that of comparable adolescents not receiving similar services through match-pair statistical analysis; d) documenting corporate capacity enhancement among collaborating organizations; e) assessing progress on curriculum adaptation and implementation; and f) documenting the formation of a national model. A major component of the evaluation will be a comparison study of participant and non-participant cohort. At each site, 20 participants will be selected along with a 20 non-participant cohort with demographically similar characteristics. Both groups will be tracked during the year at each site. CA/NCF