University of San Diego Case Study of Boys to Men


Purpose of Project


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Because at-risk youth are more likely to experience failure in school or drop out, schools continue to look for effective interventions for school-related problems affecting at-risk youth. Proponents of mentoring programs hypothesize that mentoring programs could be part of the answer to these problems; however, little research has been conducted evaluating the effectiveness of mentoring programs collaborating with schools.

The BTM/middle school collaboration offers a great opportunity to investigate the relationship between mentoring and school counseling.

Significance and Rationale

The boys in the program are particularly at risk of missing school, low school achievement, being held back, acting out behaviorally, dropping out of school; and adversely affected by poverty, violence and substance abuse.

Impact on Participants

BTM positively influences student behavior – There are less high level infractions at school, boys are happier, have a more positive outlook on life, have improved self-esteem, and engage in less risk-taking behavior. BTM participants show improved grades, increased attendance, and higher school engagement.


The case study findings indicated that program participants were able to improve academic performance, behavior, and relationships with adults. These results, taken into context with the challenges associated with this population, should spark a sense of hope and urgency in implementing similar programming in other high-need schools.

Based upon these findings and factors, we highly recommend investing in the further development, research and evaluation of the BTM organization.

Study Results


    • 96% of students said BTM has helped them care about peoples’ feelings.
    • 78% of students said that BTM has helped them go to school more often.
    • 90% of students said BTM helped them to do better in school.
    • 95% of students said BTM makes them feel better about themselves
    • 91% of students said BTM has positively changed how they view the future


    • 100% of parents strongly agree BTM is a good thing for their son.
    • 91% of parents agree their son is happier since participation in BTM.
    • 90% of parents agree their son seems more mature since BTM.
    • 81% of parents agree their son cares more for others since BTM.
    • 90% of parents agree their son’s self-esteem improved since BTM.

Quotes from the boys

    • Boys to Men is really important because it’s a group I can talk about my problems.
    • It helps me to believe that I can achieve my goals in life.
    • It makes me want to come to school just so I can have a place to open up.
    • A place to feel safe and cry when you need to.
    • It helps me not mess up my life more that it is.
    • It helps me make better choices in life to not sell drugs or do something dumb.
    • It helps me become a better person and have a brighter future.
    • I feel like this is a home for me.
    • I have a home with many people who have some of the same problems I have.
    • Boys to Men helps me realize what’s right and wrong.
    • Boys to Men taught me to be more responsible and care about people.
    • It is a place where I can speak the truth and talk about my feelings.
    • Boys to Men helps me with my anger.
    • We can talk to them about anything. We don’t have to build up all the sadness.
    • Boys to Men just makes you a better person.
    • Boys to Men is a place I can go for help and respect I had been searching for.
    • It makes me feel good about myself and that it is ok to show your feelings.
    • It’s a family I never had.
    • Support and help to control my anger and a father figure.
    • It helps me become a better person and helps me make good choices.
    • It helps me with my anger.
    • Learning from others’ experience to make myself better.
    • I learned how to accept myself.
    • It helps me be better in life and not do dumb stuff like fighting and selling drugs.
    • We laugh and cry and have fun.
    • The men believe in me and I want to make them proud of me.