The assessment of the Community for Youth’s (CfY) curriculum-applying the Developmental Assets Profile proved that both programs are quite successful. Students involved in Steps Ahead and Steps Beyond programs significantly developed both internal and external assets. Nevertheless, during the Freshman year, individuals were reported to improve more on the internal assets, whereas the curriculum for older students positively contributed to external assets’ growth. The main achievements of Steps Ahead are associated with increased social competency (appropriately expressing feelings, healthy relationships), positive values (responsibility, honesty, respect), positive identity (optimism, self-esteem), and commitment to learning.
On the contrary, a clear sense of boundaries and expectations, support (from adults and parents), and empowerment (feeling safe and valued) significantly increased due to the Steps Beyond program. It was also found that the latter’s students further improve their assets following the first year of studies; hence, the process of development is not limited to one year. Taking into consideration that CfY expected significant growth of internal assets regarding both incentives, Steps Beyond needs to be improved in terms of commitment to learning and social competencies.
Steps Beyond students are found to improve slower on doing homework, enjoying reading and learning, and trying new things and activities. It is excellent that its curriculum is positively associated with external assets; however, more can be achieved in terms of such internal elements as the commitment to learning and social competencies. The non-profit organization applies one-on-one (with a mentor) and group meetings (Family Groups and Learning Communities). I would recommend encouraging and promoting the work in pairs or small groups of up to 4 people. Students who deal with any task together tend to improve their relationships and social skills. Communication with peers with similar aspirations and competition aspect will lead to a boosted commitment to learning. What is more, students may deliver reports regarding their recent achievements (in study or other positive behavior), which should be warmly appreciated by mentors and others if they are positive. It should increase planning ahead and make them more sensitive to and accept others.