Every day, youth in mentoring and tutoring program are setting goals and trying to reach them. Whether it’s earning an A in Biology, making the marching band, applying to colleges, or learning how to cook something other than grilled cheese, talking about goals is an important part of any mentoring relationship. Research from around the world has shown that youth with strong goals and strong goal-directed behaviors have the most positive development and the least negative outcomes. However, there are not many research-based tools out there to help mentors build these critical life skills in young people.
Over the past year, a team of researchers at Tufts University in Massachusetts has worked to fill that gap. Dr. Ed Bowers and his team designed a set of tools that make talking about and eventually achieving goals through a mentoring relationship easier, more fun, and more effective in promoting youth’s positive development. We call this system Project GPS, and we’ve based it on the most cutting-edge research on youth development as well as feedback from youth-serving professionals from around the country.
Project GPS includes a comprehensive series of quick and easy measurement tools, known as rubrics. There are also nearly thirty fun activities, several inspirational videos of young people talking about how they achieved their goals, and much more.
Right now, Dr. Bowers and his team need mentoring programs to participate in an upcoming evaluation of Project GPS, which will provide each participating program with free access to the entire suite of tools, as well as valuable data regarding the goal-directed behaviors and positive development of the youth in your care. Project GPS can be adapted to work with the particular structures and objectives of different programs.
To find out more about Project GPS and how you can promote goal management skills in the youth in your program, email Mimi Arbeit at email@example.com to set up an informational phone call.
Project GPS is a project of the Institute for Applied Research on Youth Development, directed by
Dr. Richard Lerner.