Example Logic Models and Theories of Change for Youth Mentoring Programs
Below you will find downloadable examples of logic models and theories of change for several types of youth mentoring programs. These examples can help mentoring programs, funders, and policymakers craft more effective mentoring programs for specific youth populations and outcomes. Each set of examples is accompanied by a brief write up that highlights distinctive characteristics of the logic model and theory of change for that type of mentoring program, as well as key supporting research and additional resources.
- Community-Based 1:1 Mentoring (focused on whole child development)
- School-Based Group Mentoring for K-8 Youth (focused on academic and social support)
- 1:1 Mentoring for Adolescents Early in their Juvenile Justice Involvement
- 1:1 Mentoring for Transition Planning out of Foster Care
Click here to download the full set of mentoring program examples that will be covered by this project over time.
Why Theories of Change and Logic Models?
One of the more challenging tasks for a mentoring program is defining and demonstrating exactly how, and under what conditions, the mentoring provided by caring adults is expected to lead to desired changes in the attitudes, behaviors, and accomplishments of the youth served. This pathway to positive change is often depicted graphically in what’s known as a theory of change. Equally challenging can be the development of a logic model, a graphical representation of how program resources, activities, and participants work together to make that change happen operationally. While these two summaries of the program’s functioning are critical for new initiatives, even established programs will want to revisit and revise these foundational documents over time.
About these Example Theories of Change and Logic Models
These example theories of change and logic models are intended to be a starting point for developing or refining a program’s specific features and design, which will likely differ depending on available resources, staffing, youth needs, and other priorities. But each of these was drawn, as comprehensively as possible, from existing research on evidence-supported models and relevant theories as determined by expert members of the NMRC Research Board. Thus, they represent a very solid representation of what these program types might look like in practice, based on existing programs and research.
Programs may find it helpful to start by examining the “Community-Based 1:1” documents as those represent the most holistic and generalized type of mentoring, with the other program types here showcasing how their approaches are more focused and differentiated from that basic model.
As noted above, programs are encouraged to make changes and additions to these models to better align with local needs, funder priorities, and program context. But hopefully these examples will prevent “reinventing the wheel” and will better align future initiatives with available research.
We plan on adding to this collection of examples each year, following the framework laid out in this typology of mentoring programs. The examples in this typology, while not completely comprehensive, encompass the vast majority of program types operating in the youth mentoring field.1
Getting Help Implementing these Models
The NMRC offers free technical assistance to any mentoring program that would like help strengthening its practices, which certainly encompasses developing or updating a logic model or theory of change. If you would like to work with one of our expert technical assistance providers related to the examples found here, please click here to request technical assistance to begin the process and get paired with someone who can help you apply these examples to your work.
Programs should also keep in mind that the NMRC’s Measurement Guidance Toolkit features many ready-to-use instruments for measuring many of the youth outcomes highlighted in these theories of change and logic models.
1 Garringer, M., McQuillin, S., & McDaniel, H. (2017). Examining youth mentoring services across America: Findings from the 2016 Mentoring Program Survey. Boston, MA: MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership. Retrieved from http://www.mentoring.org/new-site/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Mentor-Survey-Report_FINAL_small.pdf