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Practice Briefs

Our Practice Briefs provide insight into key findings of current high-quality research on youth development topics. Writing in practical, straightforward language, contributors help distill the essential elements of these articles into immediately useable action steps. Let our research and writing strengthen your own practice without having to find and distill the information yourself! The information you find here will ensure your youth development strategies are up-to-date and based on effective practice and will help you “make your case” for the rationale behind your practice to organizational leaders and funders.

 

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Peer Mentors + Social Support = Better Health for Children

Although mentoring’s positive influence on educational achievement is perhaps most widely studied, increasing evidence also shows demonstrative impacts on safety and social and emotional development.  Teen or peer mentoring has also shown to be equally effective as adult mentors in school connectedness and academic achievement.  Author Kiyah Duffey reports on the latest research on the effectiveness of teen mentoring and improving health outcomes.  Read more... 

Topics Covered:

  • Engagement
  • Informal Mentoring
  • Mentoring
  • Staff Development
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Setting the Stage for a Successful Transition to Adulthood: What the Research Says

A fifteen-year-old boy is becoming more independent, but still feels close to his family and is able to confide in a family member. A sixteen-year-old girl knows that her teachers both support her and challenge her to excel.  Researchers have long found that positive relationships like these with family members and teachers increase desired outcomes for young people, including academic success, positive self-image, and reduced drug and alcohol use. Read more...

The good news is that these relationships also position young people to make a healthy transition to young adulthood (which can extend from ages 18–34), with minimal problems during their late teens and early twenties. Read more...

Topics Covered:

  • Engagement
  • Mentoring
  • Staff Development
  • Student-Teacher Relations
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R U Getting Lost in Books Anymore? Youth Literacy in the Digital Age

News headlines over the last ten years have consistently lamented the decline of literary reading among youth and young adults in the United States. The National Endowment for the Arts sounded one of the first warnings of this trend in 2004 with a report entitled Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America.1 Reports since then have reinforced this stark picture, pointing to steep drops in literary reading and reading for pleasure among 15-24 year olds.2 In addition to a decline over time, recent data shows that reading for fun drops precipitously from childhood to the teenage years. Read more...  

Topics Covered:

  • Engagement
  • Informal Mentoring
  • Mentoring
  • Role Models
  • Staff Development
  • Student-Teacher Relations
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Family Engagement: Refining our Approach

It seems intuitive that the more families are involved in the educational lives of their children, the better those children will do in school. Some compelling research supports this view. However, not all researchers are convinced the strategies being promoted are the right ones. Author Deborah Fisher looks at what family engagement in schools means and discusses the many ways to achieve meaningful parent engagement.  Read more...

Topics Covered:

  • Engagement
  • Mentoring
  • Role Models
  • Staff Development
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The Impact of Mentoring: What Youth Have to Say

Currently, more than 5,000 mentoring programs serve an estimated three million young people in the United States. A deep dive into program evaluations finds that mentoring helps improve both promotion and prevention outcomes for youth across behavioral, social, emotional, and academic domains. But what are the youth saying about mentoring programs? Author Deborah Fisher looks at the recent research on the effectiveness of mentoring and what youth are saying. 

Topics Covered:

  • Engagement
  • Informal Mentoring
  • Mentoring
  • Role Models
  • Staff Development
  • Student-Teacher Relations
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Delivering on a Promise: New Directions in Mentoring

Author Deborah Fisher, explains the success of Maine colleges and the their mentoring programs.  The result, hundreds of college students mentoring hundreds of children with outstanding impact. 

Topics Covered:

  • Engagement
  • Mentoring
  • Role Models
  • Youth Outreach
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Young People Making a Difference: K-12 Service-Learning

Young people have tremendous energy to make the world a better place, and we want them to have opportunities to learn, lead, and contribute to their schools and communities. The question for adults who work with young people is how best to create learning experiences and service opportunities.  Sandy Longfellow, author explains how service-learning programs equip young people to make a difference.

Topics Covered:

  • Engagement
  • Mentoring
  • Staff Development
  • Student-Teacher Relations
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Bullying: The Role of the Helpful Bystander

In this Practice Brief, Bolster Collaborative contributor, Deborah Fisher, discusses how children who witness buillying are negatively effected and how a test project explored the concept of turning passive bystanders into helpful peacemakers.

Topics Covered:

  • Engagement
  • Mentoring
  • Role Models
  • Staff Development
  • Student-Teacher Relations
  • Youth Outreach
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Every Kid Needs Adults Who Care: What the Research Says

In this Practice Brief Bolster Collaborative contributor, Sandy Longfellow, discusses recent research that clearly confirms the important role non-parent adults play in the development of youth with a strong sense of social connectedness in adolescence and well being in adulthood.

Topics Covered:

  • Mentoring
  • Role Models
  • Student-Teacher Relations
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