Evaluation of a strengths-based youth mentoring program

The 2011 Northeast Regional Mentoring Conference, Oct. 13-14 in Framingham, MA, will bring together more than 250 practitioners, researchers, and other stakeholders in the mentoring field. The conference’s numerous workshops, covering various themes, will ultimately connect the outcomes and power of mentoring.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting the conference with previews to some of the workshops. This post is courtesy of presenter Bernice Conklin-Powers, Psy.D., assistant professor of social and behavioral sciences at the University of Southern Maine Lewiston Auburn College.

The Mentoring Research Collaborative is a team of researchers from the University of New England and the University of Southern Maine. The collaboration was formed to evaluate the outcome of a three-year Office of Juvenile Justice Programs grant that was awarded to promote college-based youth mentoring programs across Maine.

The researchers were tasked to answer the question, “Does mentoring help to strengthen and improve the developmental outcomes for youth engaged in mentoring relationships?”

We look forward to sharing the findings of our three-year research project on Oct. 14 at the 2011 Northeast Regional Mentoring Conference. Following is a summary of the key highlights of our presentation, Evaluation of a strengths-based youth mentoring program: Historical and theoretical perspectives, empirical results, and policy implications.

Sam McReynoldsWhile the team set about attempting to answer the question above, many more questions arose. The first and most basic question encountered was, “What is mentoring exactly?” Sam McReynolds, Ph.D., (UNE) will attempt to address this question by providing a synopsis of the different ways that mentoring has been defined over time.

Bernice Conklin-PowersA second question that arose was, “What are we measuring exactly and are we effectively measuring it?" Bernice Conklin-Powers, Psy.D., (USM LAC) will discuss the emerging field of strengths-based assessment and will review the strengths and limitations of this approach.

Maryann CorselloMaryann Corsello, Ph.D., (UNE) will provide a synthesis of the answer to “Did mentoring work?” Specifically, she will address the impact school performance indicators of the youth who participated in the mentoring programs.

ThompsonFinally, Bruce Thomspon, Ph.D., (USM) will discuss the complexities encountered when attempting to answer, “Did mentoring work equally for everyone?” His focus will be on youth from different socioeconomic backgrounds.