This latest report on P/PV’s multi-year study of Boys & Girls Clubs finds that the more often youths participate in club activities, the greater the positive impact on their lives. The study presents the findings from surveys of more than 300 low-income, diverse youth, club attendance records, and in-depth interviews with a sub-sample of ninth- and 10th-grade participants to examine the correlation between participation and outcomes.
According to the study, youth with higher levels of club participation showed greater positive changes on 15 of 31 outcomes examined, including:
• Higher levels of community service involvement.
• Increased levels of integrity (knowing right from wrong).
• Decreased levels of shyness and aggression.
• Decreased number of times skipping school.
• Increased academic confidence, school effort and levels of future connectedness (how much youth think about their future and how their current activities help them prepare for the future).
• Decreased numbers of negative peers as friends.
• Decreased number of times stopped by the police.
• Lower likelihood of starting to carry a weapon, smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, smoke marijuana or have sexual intercourse.
Attendance data indicated that clubs each have a relatively regular group of youth, and that attendance declines as youth transition from middle school to high school. Teens were more likely to participate with greater frequency if the clubs fully engaged them in a variety of activities; their friends also participated; they were involved in club leadership roles; and their involvement in the clubs began when they were preteens or younger.
In addition, the researchers found commonalities between clubs producing the highest levels of positive changes in youth. Staff members and teens spoke in their interviews about the overall club environment, the feeling of safety the clubs provide, and the role of interactions with supportive adults and peers. Nearly all (96 percent) of the youth surveyed said there was “at least one supportive adult at the club” and that “at least one adult there was setting high expectations for them.”
Free, 81 pages. (215) 557-4400, http://www.ppv.org/ppv/publications/assets/295_publication.pdf.