YMCA Plusone Mentoring
Gender: Mixed (male and female)
Population served: Aboriginal/Indigenous; Gang-involved (and/or at risk); Newcomers, immigrants and/or refugees; Placed out-of-home; Visible minority/ethnic group; Youth in contact with law enforcement (and/or at risk)
Number of completed Canadian outcome evaluation studies: In progress
Continuum of intervention: Secondary crime prevention; Tertiary crime prevention
YMCA Plusone Mentoring is a community-based mentoring program (traditional mentoring with a 1:1 adult to youth ratio) which places the young person at the centre of the intervention and takes into consideration the context in which they are living, as well as their particular needs. As such, the program activities are geared towards motivating the youth and helping them overcome the challenges they face at home, in school, and in their life in general. In doing so, Plusone Mentoring deters those most at risk of coming into contact with the youth justice system from going down that path.
The program is centered on community mobilization; mentoring – tutoring; skills training
The main goals of the YMCA Plusone Mentoring program are to:
- Reduce aggressive, offending, and antisocial behaviour in at-risk youth;
- Help youth develop resiliency, self-esteem and conflict-management; and
- Increase academic/career aspirations and motivation among youth
The appropriate clientele for the YMCA Plusone Mentoring program are youth between the ages of 10-17 who have been in contact with the youth justice system, are in care, new to Canada, Aboriginal, a visible minority, live in the inner-city, and show two or more risk factors (such as substance abuse, gang relations, disengagement with school, aggressive or antisocial beahviour, an association with antisocial peers, and relationship problems within the family).
Participants will be identified and recruited through a referral system which involves a variety of community partners.
The Plusone program youth cohorts consist of 20 cases per year, and each service point hosts 2 cohorts per year. Participation in Plusone lasts an average of one year, ranging from 9 to 15 months. The Program components include;
- Mentor and mentee matching: Information gathered from initial meetings with candidates from the program, as well as information shared by the referring party and community partners, are used to inform the matching process between mentor and mentee;
- One-on-one mentoring and community/group based activities:
- At first, youth and their mentors meet 2-3 hours a week on average to establish the trust fundamental to the relationship;
- Once the matches are determined, an intervention/development plan is created for the mentees by a support worker, which is tailored to the youth and their specific needs;
- Mentors will engage and accompany their mentees in targeted activities such as skill/capacity building workshops (such as conflict resolution and anger management), health related (both mental and physical), or cultural activities; and
- Mentors and support workers will encourage the mentees to engage in positive, healthy developmental activities providing them the opportunity for potential to be realized. Such activities include participation in clubs, sports teams, communal/cultural groups, etc.
Some of the critical elements for the implementation of this program or initiative include the following:
- Organizational requirements: The YMCA Plusone Mentoring program must be implemented in collaboration with the YMCAs of Quebec, as YMCA Scotland and the YMCAs of Quebec have established essential elements and standards for the program that must be respected by a host organization to ensure fidelity to the program model. The host organization should be a YMCA or another community-based organization with a youth oriented vocation that has working partnerships with other youth serving agencies and community stakeholders. Also, the program should have access to a community recreation centre or similar location.
- Partnerships: Partnership agreements with community partners is important to the Plusone program, as participants should be identified and recruited through a referral system which involves a variety of community partners, such as schools, youth-based organisations, police, health agencies, the social work and youth care networks.
- Training and technical assistance: Staff and mentors must have previous experience working with youth, and more specifically at-risk youth. Initial training for the program and its elements should be provided to the Program Facilitators and supervisors by the YMCAs of Quebec. In addition, program supervisors and facilitators are provided ongoing local training to further their expertise in youth work and mentoring. Annual training conferences will also be hosted by the YMCAs of Quebec.
- Risk assessment tools: Recruit and select participants to the project that match the characteristics of the intended participant group for the Crime Prevention Action Fund Plusone program through validated risk and assessment tools. The referral and risk assessment processes were designed by YMCA Scotland with guidance from the Criminal Justice Social Work Center at The University of Edinburgh and have been adapted to the Canadian context.
- Materials & resources: It is important to implement a comprehensive, electronic information management system (IMS) to support the project’s information and reporting needs.
The most recognized classification systems of evidence-based crime prevention programs have classified this program or initiative as follows:
- Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development: Not applicable.
- Crime Solutions/OJJDP Model Program Guide: Not applicable.
- SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices: Not applicable.
- Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy: Not applicable.
Gathering Canadian Knowledge
Canadian Implementation Sites
Public Safety Canada’s National Crime Prevention Strategy provided funding to YMCAs of Quebec for the YMCA Plusone Mentoring program, which is being implemented in four different locations in Canada from 2016 to 2021: Surrey (BC), Moncton (NB), Regina (SK), and Montreal (QC).
Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies
As part of Public Safety Canada’s funding, an outcome evaluation study of the YMCA Plusone Mentoring program is currently being conducted by Harry Cummings and Associates (HCA).
No information available.
There is no Canadian reference available at this time.
For more information on this program, contact:
YMCAs of Quebec
School Success Sector
5550 Park Avenue
Montreal, Quebec, H2V 4H1
Tel: (416) 967-9622
Record Entry Date - 2018-03-15
- Date modified: