Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2011, $438,229)
This program seeks to enhance the understanding of 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. In addition, there is a need for research specifically demonstrating the components of mentoring programs that have a significant impact in reducing juvenile delinquency and offending. This solicitation seeks to fund research studies on juvenile mentoring that will inform the design and delivery of mentoring programs. It is expected 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 Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011, Pub. L. 112-110.
James Madison University's proposed evaluation study investigates the impact of enhanced training and peer advising for mentors on the quality of mentor-mentee relationships and mentee life outcomes. While there is a general consensus that ongoing training of mentors is critical, more research is needed on the optimal amount and content of the training provided. This project will be conducted in conjunction with an affiliate of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America in Harrisonburg, Virginia, an established mentoring program which has consistently surpassed national standards in all areas of quality metrics. It is estimated that the study will examine 400 mentor/mentee matches. The proposed two year project employs a between-subject experimental design, with three, randomly assigned, treatment groups: a) mentor training b) mentor-advisee paring and c) interaction intervention, and an equivalent control group. Results from this project will be targeted to practitioners in order to augment the quality of mentoring programs and improve the outcomes of at-risk youth.