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Interim Report for the Evaluation of a Cross-age Peer Mentoring Program for Youth in High Violence Chicago Communities

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2017
28 pages
This study examined the impacts of the current cross-age peer mentoring program called Saving Lives, Inspiring Youth (S.L.I.Y.) in seven high-violence sites in Chicago.
S.L.I.Y. is designed to improve resilience and reduce aggression and other behavioral problems for disadvantaged youth living in low-income, high-violence communities. S.L.I.Y.'s 142 high school students have mentored 159 middle school students from the same communities. Each mentor is recruited, trained, supervised, and paid. Operating for about a year at each site, mentoring pairs have met once a week for an hour of mentoring and then an hour of debriefing. The current study examined the program's impacts through four waves of data collection. Overall, the strength of the mentoring relationship by 9-12 months significantly predicted increased self-esteem among mentees and increased negative attitudes toward gangs and gang membership, as well as trending toward decreased aggression. Boys who attended more sessions reported an increase in positive future expectations. Girls with stronger mentoring relationships also reported significantly lower positive perceptions of gangs and gang membership. For mentors, the program also apparently promoted positive effects, particularly for mentoring boys, who indicated reduced depression and anxiety, as well as reduced delinquent behavior and aggression. Girls, however, did not show similar reductions in problem behaviors, but more attendance among girls predicted increasing perceptions of support. Data were collected from 182 participants (mentors, N=96 and mentees, N=86). 9 tables, 8 figures, and 32 references

Date Published: December 1, 2017