“[SOS] is truly a life-changing experience for the students and an incentive for them to improve and excel because they know that their ability to participate in this activity is dependent upon appropriate behavior from the beginning of the school year until the Ski Trip occurs. Participating in this new activity encouraged them to want to try other new things, and improved their self-esteem and self-confidence because even though it was hard at first, they learned that you keep on trying and that failing one time does not make you a failure.”
Ida Daniels, Hallett Fundamental Academy
Many peer organizations, associations and funders recognize SOS Outreach as a leader in program evaluation. In 2008 and again in 2011, RRC Associates from Boulder, Colorado facilitated an in-depth survey of SOS participants. Highlights of impacts include:
- Almost all SOS participants believe it is important to stay in school (96.7%) and intend to go to college (93.9%)
- Most SOS participants feel that SOS helps them do better in school (90.6%), helps them feel proud of themselves (92.6%) and provides leadership opportunities (89%)
- 89% of SOS participants feel that SOS teaches them to be healthier
- Participants exercise more frequently
- 60% of college-age past SOS participants surveyed were currently enrolled in college, compared to 28% of high school seniors from high-poverty schools who continued to college nationally in 2011 (Pell Institute)
- SOS Participants display a significant increase in hope for the future and scored higher than their peer group on measures of self-esteem
Positive Academic Impacts on SOS Participants:
- Increase in attendance
- Increase in GPA among middle and high school participants
- Better performance on Colorado State Assessments (TCAP) in Mathematics
SOS’s intensive evaluation process captures the characteristics of the individuals served by the program including: age, cultural background, school of attendance, socioeconomic status, and pre-existing beliefs and behaviors related to SOS program objectives.
The Up2Us Center for Sports-Based Youth Development has identified SOS nationally for its innovative impact on youth. In 2012, SOS was also the focus of a doctoral dissertation that investigated the process by which at-risk youth build resiliency. Dr. Lisa Schrader’s findings demonstrated that the longer students are engaged in the core value based leadership program, the more they are integrating and utilizing the benefits in all areas of their lives. The opportunities SOS provides including engagement with positive adult role models and the longevity of its program; create the organization’s impacts.