156775 Peer mentoring as an intervention strategy with at-risk elementary students

Wednesday, November 7, 2007: 3:15 PM

Kenneth T. Wilburn, PhD , Counseling and Educational Leadership, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL
Sharon T. Wilburn, PhD , Public Health, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL
Dax M. Weaver, MPH , Health-Tech Consultants, Inc., Atlantic Beach, FL
Patti Greenough, MEd , EPIC Community Services, Inc., St. Augustine, FL
Teresa Andrews, MS , EPIC Community Services, Inc., St. Augustine, FL
The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of a peer mentoring program on at-risk elementary school students. Thirty at-risk elementary school students were mentored by high school student volunteer mentors. Mentoring sessions were conducted for one hour per week throughout the school year. The program sought to improve promotion rates, attitudes about school, self-confidence and interpersonal relationships and to decrease the number of unexcused absences, disciplinary referrals, and substance use among the elementary students. Secondary students were expected to realize an increase in leadership skills. Pre and post assessments were conducted for both student groups. Elementary student performance was assessed using end of term grades, discipline referrals, FCAT scores, and promotion rates. Changes in student attitudes, self confidence and interpersonal relationships were assessed using a modified form of the Performance Outcome Evaluation, substance abuse was assessed using the HTC ATOD Elementary Survey . Secondary student leadership skills were assessed using the Youth Leadership Questionnaire (YLI). Assessment of elementary students indicated that 60% demonstrated an increase in the core academic subjects of reading and mathematics; 69% experienced an improvement in attitude toward school; 81% improved self-confidence; 75% improved interpersonal relations; 60% had a significant decrease in discipline referrals, and 76% had no substance abuse in the last 30 days. YLI scores for secondary students indicated that 72% had an increase in leadership skills. Specifically, the mean and standard deviation on YLI pretest was 3.86 and 0.613, respectively, and 4.05 and 0.570 on the posttest.

Learning Objectives:
Discuss mentoring as a method of creating self-confidence and empowering at-risk young children. Evaluate the impact of mentoring on leadership skills for high school youth. Recognize the public health impact of substance abuse on elementary at-risk children.

Keywords: Peer Counselors, Self-sufficiency and Empowerment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.