In conjunction with the Strengthening Youth through a Network of Care (SYNC) initiative, NORC at the University of Chicago is currently evaluating the effectiveness of the Eisenhower Foundation Quantum Youth Development mentoring program being implemented by six Get IN Chicago grantees.

The Eisenhower Quantum Opportunities Program (QOP) aims to encourage participants to finish high school, enroll in college, and avoid risky behaviors, such as substance abuse, crime, and teenage parenting. The Quantum Opportunities model is a proven, evidence based, wraparound intervention, and last year, it was recognized by the White House as part of its My Brother’s Keeper What Works Showcase.  An important component of the program is “deep mentoring”, in which mentors develop long-term relationships with youth and advocate for them in multiple settings including school, family, peer, and justice system.

SYNC grantees are working with youth ages 13-18 from Get IN Chicago focus communities (Austin, Englewood, Humboldt Park, North Lawndale, Roseland, South Shore, and West Englewood) who are at high risk of dropping out and becoming involved in the juvenile and criminal justice systems.

For the evaluation, the NORC team partnered with Get IN Chicago and its SYNC grantees to recruit over 500 youth for the study, including a comparison group not participating in the program. The team, led by principle investigators Carrie Markovitz and Bruce Taylor, will complete follow-up surveys with youth in Spring 2018 and 2019. The study plans to examine the effects of the program on indicators of school engagement, participation in risky and/or criminal behaviors, and longer-term life outcomes.

“NORC’s partnership has been invaluable as we embark on this rigorous study in Chicago,” said Dr. Toni Irving, Executive Director of Get IN Chicago. “We look forward to better understanding how deep mentoring impacts acutely high-risk youth through this evaluation.”