Central Office Further Research and Evaluations
Local Program Exploration: The Local Program Exploration was a series of individual interviews and focus group meetings with over 50% of the parents, children, and mentors involved in DREAM. The impetus was to gather information that would better help us start new DREAMs. The information we gathered was invaluable. Some highlights follow. •
Parents reinforced how important it is for them to know how mentors are selected, and want to be generally assured of safety. All parents were supportive of the program. • The children were enthusiastic about many components, but particularly focused on their partners and how much they looked forward to spending time on Friday with them. • DREAM mentors shared a variety of concerns, including the need for more social time amongst mentors, the importance of transferring the program philosophy to new mentors, and the necessity of creating universal rules amongst all DREAM stake holders. • Several structural parts of the Friday program were highlighted as needing improvement. The 3pm mentor meeting was labeled as slightly disconnected and in need of an aggressive agenda with concrete goals. Similarly, the 6pm closing time with the children, though viewed as very important, was seen as needing a more organized and collaborative approach amongst mentors. • Culminating group experiences are universally viewed as positive events by everyone. Smaller group activities, however, were talked about needing more structure and planning. • New mentors were overall very enthusiastic about the program, but did not realize how emotionally intense the experience would be. They feel it is very important that the recruitment process relays the extent of the commitment as well as the intensity to which the relationships can develop. • Mentors want DREAM staff to provide more resources for individual child needs (such as ADHD, autism, and literacy Thank you to problems), and appreciate the advice and help given by the staff Lisa Christie f o r t h e Hi g h Ad v e nt ur e , Lisa is the Executive Director fundraisers, and program in of Vermont’s other state-wide general. mentoring organization, Everybody Wins! Vermont. Rather than being DREAM’s competitor, Lisa has been a Daring to DREAM: An Evaluation great ally; sharing materials, information, advice, and Katherine Meyer, a Senior at the University of Vermont, is partnering with support. DREAM is thrilled to The DREAM Program this year to perform a longitudinal evaluation as her have Lisa as a colleague. Honors Thesis. “Daring to DREAM: An Evaluation of a Local Mentoring DREAM and Everybody Wins! Program,” will investigate the effects of mentors’ sense of efficacy and Vermont have a strong future perceived satisfaction with the DREAM program on the mentees’ (1) together as they continue to academic potential, (2) perceived self-efficacy, and (3) interest in novel change the lives of Vermont’s experiences. Data collection will take place through a variety of children. Thank you Lisa! questionnaire data from participating mentors and mentees and school record data from participating mentees. Preliminary data was collected in the fall, and will be again collected near the end of the school year, in order to assess change in outcomes as linked to features of the mentoring relationship and program.
Published on Aug 26, 2012