tion, community service, and development activities, as well as financial incentives, from 9th grade through high school graduation. Adolescents from families receiving public assistance entered the program in the 9th grade and continued for four years through high school.

It is a community-based, year-round, multiyear, and multilevel youth development program. Each participant was eligible to receive the following experiences each year:

  • 250 hours of education activities, such as participating in computer-assisted instruction, peer tutoring, etc., with the goal of enhancing basic academic skills;

  • 250 hours of developmental activities, including participating in cultural enrichment and personal development, acquiring life/ family skills, planning for college or advanced technical/vocational training, and job preparation; and

  • 250 hours of service activities, such as participating in community service projects, helping with public events, and working as a volunteer in various agencies.

Financial incentives were built into the project design. Staff and agencies received payments based on student participation numbers. Participants themselves received small hourly stipends ($1 increasing to $1.33) for participation, a $100 bonus, and $100 for college or training funds after completing 100 hours of programming.

Evaluation Design and Results

Participants were randomly selected from lists of 8th grade students from families receiving public assistance. The students were then recruited and randomly assigned to the experimental or control group. At the end of 9th grade, test scores declined for the intervention group and there were no significant differences in education expectations between the intervention and the control group. After two years—the end of 10th grade—academic and functional skill scores increased and exceeded control group participants in five areas. At the end of senior year, performance in all 11 academic and functional skill areas was greater for the intervention group than the control group. About 6 months after scheduled high school graduation, the intervention group showed benefits from the program in several areas.

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