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Horizons Expand and Relationships Evolve: A Best Practice Research Study of New York City Mentoring Programs

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2016
16 pages
This study evaluated the features and impact of the New York City Family Center's mentoring program for youth who have risk factors for adverse development.
The Family Center is the lead agency for the model entitled Horizons Expand and Relationships Evolve (HERE), which was designed to expand on some of the hypothesized pathways in DuBois and Rhodes' model of mentoring effectiveness, which linked three properties of the mentoring relationship - mutuality, trust, and empathy - to three dimensions of positive youth development, i.e., social-emotional, cognitive, and identity. Youth's gains in these dimensions were further hypothesized by DuBois and Rhodes to result in positive academic, psychosocial, and behavioral outcomes. This evaluation of the Family Center's mentoring program hypothesized that successful youth outcomes would be more likely for those paired with mentors who were optimistic, had high self-esteem, and were highly engaged in life. It also hypothesized that youth outcomes would be better for those paired with mentors who had predominantly positive self-concepts and whose mentorees' experience of themselves with the mentor were predominantly positive. There were three evaluation findings deemed most relevant in this preliminary report by the evaluators. First, mentors who scored lower on optimism were more likely than high scorers to complete their 1-year volunteer commitment. Second, mentored children with fewer friends were less likely to have a full 1-year relationship with a mentor. Third, no differences were found in any outcomes for mentored compared with non-mentored children at 1 year; and there were no differences when the mentor group was split into those whose mentor completed the full 1-year commitment compared with mentors who did not complete the 1-year commitment. Policy implications of these findings are discussed.

Date Published: June 1, 2016