Out of School Time
Search Institute serves as the independent evaluator for Opportunity Reboot, which focuses on integrating youth development and economic opportunities with career pathway approaches targeting “opportunity youth” throughout the state of Minnesota. The initiative is a partnership between Youthprise; the Office of Youth Development in the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED); and MENTOR Minnesota.
Six community partners across Minnesota are implementing evidence-based wraparound approaches that are aligned with an overall model that includes four core strategies:
- Implementation of a career pathways framework;
- Intentional use of positive mentoring relationships and other youth development strategies;
- Use of individualized goal supports; and,
- Established cross-sector partnerships.
Search Institute leads a mixed-methods evaluation to understand how community partners’ wraparound models are being implemented, experienced by young people, and their alignment with the Opportunity Reboot theory of change. The impact evaluation is using propensity score matching to compare outcomes from Opportunity Reboot program participants with a comparison group from state data sources who are observationally equivalent.
Enhancing Mentoring with Developmental Relationships
Search Institute partners with U.S. Dream Academy (USDA) to enhance its mentoring programs that serve children and youth exposed to multiple risk factors, including parental incarceration. Our work includes building staff’s capacity to build developmental relationships through mentors and through engaging families. We are also reviewing literature and conducting focus groups to understand the dynamics of developmental relations across differences in race and class in order to enhance USDA’s training for mentors.
Partner: U.S. Dream Academy, which has support from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in the U.S. Department of Justice
Conservation, Character, and Relationships
While young people are enhancing national parks and learning conservation skills through Student Conservation Association (SCA) programs, they are also developing their character and a commitment to the environment. Across several initiatives, Search Institute works with SCA to understand and enhance positive youth development practices through qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis, customized self-assessment tools, professional development design, and studying the critical role of developmental relationships between supervisors, mentors, and program participants.
Partner: Student Conservation Association
Developing Young Leaders through Camping Experiences
Search Institute partners with the Siskiyou Family YMCA (Yreka, CA) to document the current strengths of its outdoor leadership camp (Camp L.E.A.D. for Leadership Education, Adventure Driven) and to identify opportunities to enrich and learn from the camp experience. The camp, which engages about 80 incoming high school freshmen each year, fills a critical gap in this rural county in northern California.
Funding Partner: Ford Family Foundation
Related Research and Resources
- Available studies and articles on the power of adult and peer relationships
- Projects focused on community building and coalitions, some of which include a focus youth programs
- Projects to understand and strengthen peer relationships
- Projects focused on engaging and strengthening families
- Youth development projects outside the United States