Impact and Numbers
Many peer organizations, associations and funders recognize SOS as a leader in program evaluation. 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 programs, create the organization’s impacts.
In 2008 and again in 2011, RRC Associates from Boulder, Colorado facilitated an in-depth survey of SOS participants. Some highlights of impacts include:
- Almost all SOS participants believe that 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%), provides leadership opportunities (89%), and teaches them to be healthier (89%).
- Participants engage in exercise more frequently.
- Participants display a significant increase in hope for the future.
- 60% of college-age past participants surveyed were currently enrolled in college. According to a 2011 study by the Pell Institute, only 28% of high school seniors from high-poverty schools continue to college nationally.
- SOS participants scored higher than their peer group on measures of self-esteem.
Sergio Panelo, SOS Coordinator and Denver High School Teacher, highlights the positive impacts of SOS: “I have on multiple occasions had students come to me and say ‘I came back to school because of SOS.’” In response, SOS further increased program intensity by launching a year round, multi-year program.