UMass Boston's CEBM to Study Youth Initiated Mentoring in YouthBuild Programs

YouthBuild USA is pleased to announce a collaboration with UMass Boston’s Center for Evidence-Based Mentoring (CEBM) to evaluate Youth Initiated Mentoring (YIM) as implemented within YouthBuild programs. The project is being funded through a research grant from the United States Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).

The research team for the YIM project includes Dr. Jean Rhodes (PI, UMass Boston); Dr. Renee Spencer (co-Investigator, Boston University); Dr. Janis Kupersmidt (innovation Research & Training); and Tammy Tai (MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership).

YIM is a relatively new approach to mentoring in which youth identify and recruit caring adults from within their existing communities, embedding youth voice and choice in the recruitment and matching process. By using this innovative approach, YIM offers the potential to move beyond many of the limits of traditional mentoring programs, including the high demand for mentors resulting in long wait-lists.

YIM is well aligned with YouthBuild USA’s mission to unleash the intelligence and positive energy of low-income youth to rebuild their communities and their lives. It also honors the value YouthBuild places on the community as a source of strength and wisdom in the lives of youth, and respects young people as solution-providers for themselves and the communities in which they live.

UMass Boston identified YouthBuild as being an ideal program for YIM research, as it is a leading national youth empowerment organization which adheres to a strong mentoring model with youth voice and choice as a central component. YouthBuild programs serve 16 to 24 year old at-risk youth in over 270 programs in rural and urban communities. The research will be conducted in 42 of these programs and will focus on mentored YouthBuild students under the age of 18.

Beginning this summer, participating programs will be given language and directions to adapt their intake procedures to allow for broader data capture of potential adult volunteers identified by youth. The research also will include a survey conducted in three waves between Fall 2014 and Winter 2016, as well as onsite and phone interviews with a select group of leading programs.

CEBM is a collaboration between the UMass Boston Psychology Department and MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership. The Center is dedicated to strengthening connections between research and practice and supporting evidence-based practice in the field of youth mentoring.