The objectives of this initiative are to:
- Provide general guidance to at-risk youth.
- Promote personal and social responsibility among at-risk youth.
- Increase participation of at-risk youth in elementary and secondary education and enhance their ability to benefit from this schooling.
- Discourage use of illegal drugs and firearms, involvement in violence, and other delinquent activity by at-risk youth.
- Discourage involvement of at-risk youth in gangs.
- Encourage participation in service and community activity by at-risk youth
- Dealing with the problems of juvenile delinquency,
- creating more positive opportunities for at-risk youth
- Helping at-risk youth find strong and positive adult role models in their lives
Studies conducted on mentoring programs designed for the average youth resulted in children being significantly less likely to begin using drugs or alcohol, skip school, or engage in violence than their peers (Sipe, 1996). Jekielek et al., in 2002, in a review of existing literature, concluded that mentoring leads to better attitudes toward school, fewer absences, reductions in aggressive behavior, less drug and alcohol abuse, improved relationships with parents, and an increased likelihood of going to college. The development of better relationships with their families and other adults has also been found to be a result of successful mentoring (Rhodes et al., 2005).
Research even more pertinent to children of prisoners was conducted by DuBois et al., in which a meta-analysis of 55 mentoring programs found that while mentoring programs provided only modest beneﬁt to average youth, they were more effective with “high-risk” groups. (DuBois et al., 2002). These findings were supported in a later study by Bauldrey (2006), in which it was found that mentoring may provide some protection against depression among high-risk youth.