The YESS program is based on a “developing” level of evidence. Cross-age peer mentoring is relatively new, but research suggests it can positively impact a mentee’s feelings of connectedness to school, future, and parents,[i] and improve academic achievement.[ii] Researchers agree that a quality relationship/emotional bond between the mentee/mentor must develop before the mentee will make positive change.[iii] A peer mentor is more likely than an adult to share a history similar to the mentee’s, particularly when both mentor/mentee live in the same neighborhood and attend the same school.
Our innovative and evidence-based approach uses a combination of peer-mentoring and academic tutoring/homework help to help re-engage at-risk mentees in learning and provide them with the social/emotional support they need to successfully graduate from school. Most of the students we serve are from low-income families; many have parents who didn’t graduate from high school and/or who speak a first language other than English. Despite these odds, our program is demonstrating great success:
- 95% of mentees will improve their school attendance rates
- 95% of mentees will improve their academic performance
- 95% of mentees will increase their social/emotional intelligence skills and feelings of connectedness to school
- Less than 5% of mentees will drop out of school
- 99% of mentors will graduate from high school; 75% will go to college with 95% as first generation
- 50% of our mentees become peer mentors
[i] Karcher, M. J., Davis, C., & Powell, B. (2002). Development mentoring in schools: Testing
connectedness as a mediating variable in promotion of academic achievement. School
Community Journal, 12, 36-52.
[ii] Karcher, M.J. (2005). Cross-age peer mentoring. In D.L. DuBois & M.J. Karcher (Eds.); Karcher, M.J. (2008); The cross-age mentoring program: A developmental intervention for promoting students’ connectedness across grade levels. Professional School Counseling, 12, 137-143; and Karcher, M.J. (2009). Increase in academic connectedness and self-esteem among high school students who serve as cross-age peer mentors. Professional School Counseling, 12 (4), 292-299.Handbook of youth mentoring (pp. 266-285). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications
[iii] DuBois, D.L., Holloway, B.E., Valentine, J.C., & Cooper, H. (2002). Effectiveness of mentoring programs for youth: A meta-analytic review. American Journal of Community Psychology, 30, 157-197; Karcher, M.J. (2005). Cross-age peer mentoring. In D.L. DuBois & M.J. Karcher (Eds.), Handbook of youth mentoring (pp. 266-285). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications