The study took place in Albuquerque, NM; Baltimore MD; Boston, MA; Milwaukee, WI; and New Bedford, MA. These locations were selected as they had high rates of school dropouts, youth unemployment, poverty, crime, violence, and gang involvement. There were a total of five public high schools from which students were selected in these locations.
The intervention sample was comprised of students with a mean age of 15.9 years, 53.3% female, 47.3% male, 37.7% African American, 41.7% Latino, and 20.5% other. Most students in the group received free or reduced priced lunch (78.3%) and 30.4% had parents who did not complete high school. The comparison sample was comprised of students with a mean age of 16.1 years, 46.7% female, 52.7% male, 39.6% African American, 34.2% Latino, and 26.2% other. Most students in the group received free or reduced priced lunch (85.8%) and 32.3% had parents who did not complete high school.
The Quantum Opportunities Program was designed as an multifaceted intervention program for high risk youth. The program operates in inner city neighborhoods and provides various solutions for many different problems experienced by youth at risk. Tutoring is provided to help students academically and mentoring is offered to provide deep mentor-mentee relationships. Life skills training is also offered through mentoring relationships which seek to discourage youth from engaging in risky behaviors. The program also offers youth leadership skill building and encourages participants to attend postsecondary education and become community role models. Participants are also provided a modest stipend of $1.25 per hour as an incentive for participation.
Comparison group students continued with a 'business as usual' in their high school program. These students did not participate in the Quantum Opportunities Program.
Support for implementation
The program was operated by indigenous, inner city nonprofit organizations located in each neighborhood. The organizations collaborated with the high schools and worked with the youth after school and during the summer. The program was funded by the Eisenhower Foundation through awards from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention of the United States Department of Justice. The Eisenhower Foundation also provided administrative management, created and oversaw contracts and cooperative agreements, and provide training and technical support to the programs.