The Boys & Girls Club: What effect does an enhanced mentoring model have on youth outcomes?

McGarrie, L., Napierala, E., Oliver, C., Heberlein, E., Taylor, B. J., & Snyder, A. (2022). An enhanced mentoring model’s impact on youth in Boys and Girls Clubs. Journal of Youth Development, 17(3), 105–117.

Summarized by Ariel Ervin

Notes of Interest: 

  • Although the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has made notable investments in the field of mentoring, our understandings of youth outcome impacts are still unclear.
    • This is notably evident for mentoring programs that utilize hybrid models (such as youth-initiated mentoring and mentoring programs with integrated informal & formal approaches).
  • This study evaluates how an enhanced mentoring approach affects youth outcomes within a Boys & Girls Club (BGC) network in southeastern America.
  • Findings indicate that enhanced mentoring is associated with several youth outcomes, such as decreased fighting, year-over-year retention, and increased positive perception of staff expectations.
  • Future studies need to examine mentee selection criteria for BGC’s enhanced mentoring and assess the longer-term impact on youth outcomes.

Introduction (Reprinted from the Abstract)

Although federal funding has been provided to add mentoring to youth development programs for decades, we still lack knowledge about the impacts of mentoring on youth outcomes. This research seeks to fill a gap by documenting youth outcomes from an enhanced mentoring approach for urban Boys and Girls Clubs (BGC) in the Southeastern United States delivered by paid staff who serve as mentors through group activities and 1:1 interactions with youth. We perform logistic regressions of secondary data from a cohort of BGCs to understand the relationships between enhanced mentoring and youth outcomes related to program retention, behaviors, and academics. We find the presented approach has a significant relationship with retention with those mentored being 1.92 times more likely to return the following program year. Mentored youth also experienced higher expectations from staff and were less likely to be involved in a physical fight with peers.

Implications (Reprinted from the Discussion)

This study sought to determine the youth impacts of an enhanced mentoring approach implemented by a BGC network in a major metropolitan area in the Southeastern United States. Given limited research on this model, these findings advance youth outcome knowledge and lay groundwork for future studies.

Mentoring goals should be tailored to each youth but generally focus on reducing or preventing negative outcomes, building life and leadership skills, improving academic achievement, and strengthening social and emotional wellness. For mentoring to have its desired effects, youth must engage with mentors to build trusting relationships. Mentoring approaches can be one-to- one or group formats, or a combination of both and can be delivered by paid professionals or volunteers. However, youth outcomes based on receiving one-to-one or group mentoring show little difference (Haddock et al., 2020). A sample of young girls’ (n = 113) self-reported outcomes from a combined one-to-one and group mentoring point to positive social outcomes (Deutsch et al., 2017), yet combinations of one-to-one and group mentoring approaches delivered by professionals are not well-documented in the literature. The BGC model analyzed in this study is an enhanced mentoring approach, where paid professional staff offer one-to-one mentoring integrated into youth development programming. Gaps exist in the literature to both evaluate youth outcomes and define this approach. This study examines an enhanced mentoring approach where select BGCs received funds for mentoring a subset of youth.

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