Research Case Study

Boys to Men Mentoring of San Diego has one of the most successful school-based group mentoring programs in the country. They had an opportunity to collaborate with a research team from the University of San Diego to assess their programs effectiveness. The results of that research, summarized below, validate the outcomes we are experiencing in our Tucson school groups. We are in the process of partnering with a research group from the University of Arizona to undertake a similar research project.

University of San Diego Case Study of Boys to Men


Purpose of Project

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

The Boys to Men San Diego collaboration with the University of San Diego offered a great opportunity to investigate the relationship between group mentoring and school performance.

Significance and Rationale

The boys selected for the program were particularly at high risk of missing school, low school achievement, being held back a grade, acting out behaviorally, and dropping out of school. They were adversely affected by poverty, violence and substance abuse.

Impact on Participants

In the study findings, it became clear Boys to Men groups positively influenced student behavior. There were fewer high level infractions at school. The boys reported they were happier, had a more positive outlook on life, they had improved self-esteem, and engaged in less risk-taking behavior. Boys to Men group participants show improved grades, increased attendance, and higher school engagement.

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.


The case study findings indicated that program participants were able to improve academic performance, improve their behavior, and had more positive relationships with adults. These results, given 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 programs.

Quotes from the boys

Some of research we feel strongly about are the statements of impact from the boys themselves. Here is a sampling of what we hear often in our circles:

    • 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.