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Project GPS: An Introduction Ed Bowers, Ph.D. Program Director Chris Napolitano, M.A. Research Assistant Mimi Arbeit Research Assistant.

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Presentation on theme: "Project GPS: An Introduction Ed Bowers, Ph.D. Program Director Chris Napolitano, M.A. Research Assistant Mimi Arbeit Research Assistant."— Presentation transcript:

1 Project GPS: An Introduction Ed Bowers, Ph.D. Program Director Chris Napolitano, M.A. Research Assistant Mimi Arbeit Research Assistant

2 Richard M. Lerner Principal Investigator


4 Important recent projects

5 What are we trying to do? Project GPS Goal for youth: To improve the goal management—or intentional self regulation—skills of youth in mentoring programs, helping them to achieve their goals and develop positively. Project GPS Goal for programs: To provide a research- and evidence- based, scientifically validated, flexible suite of tools designed to measure the longitudinal impact of programs on youth’s ISR and positive development.

6 Where does GPS Theory come from? Positive development happens when youth strengths are matched with contextual strengths. One of the most important youth strengths is ISR, or the ability to successfully select, work on, and adjust strategies for important life goals. In GPS Theory, there are three main skills: G, P, and S

7 G Goal Selection Selecting meaningful, realistic, long-term goals Being selective and “investing energy” in long- term goals Goals should have short-term steps Goals should improve life in multiple ways The best goals benefit self and community

8 P Pursuit of Strategies Developing a plan and sticking to it Practicing current strategies and looking for new ones Using strategies with persistent effort at appropriate times Monitoring progress to see if strategies are working

9 S Shifting Gears Replacing strategies that aren’t working with new ones Adjusting strategies so that they might work in the future Looking for help from people and other resources Moving on to new goals at the right time


11 PYD Positive Youth Development Competence Confidence Character Caring Connection Contribution

12 Some measurement challenges Time intensive Self report Odd language

13 How do we measure GPS and PYD? Rubrics– a universal coding system

14 Scoring Guide for Mentor Rubrics 5Consistent initiative; skill mastery “I’ve got this.” 4“On and off” initiative; skill competence “I’m doing well, but…” 3Emerging initiative; basic skill “I really need your help.” 2Lacks initiative; low skill “Fine, I’ll do it.” 1Lacks skill; pre-aware or disengaged “I don’t care.”

15 Project GPS Tools

16 Rubrics Videos Activities

17 Videos


19 Namibia

20 Nuts + Bolts

21 Now you need to: Participate in training Complete your consent form Identify the youth you will work with Obtain consent (from the youth and guardians)

22 Nuts + Bolts At your first Project GPS meeting with the youth, you need to: Introduce GPS using Introductory Sessions A-D Youth and mentor both complete first rubrics online

23 Nuts + Bolts At later meetings with the youth, you can: Re-introduce GPS Ask about goals Use activities and videos as desired Do the rubrics online 2 more times

24 Go for the GOAL!

25 Project GPS: Hands-on Training

26 Rubrics Videos Activities

27 Rubrics There are several types of rubrics in Project GPS. Rubrics vary by who will complete them, what they measure, and the age range of youth to which they refer Today, we will go over the mentor-completed GPS rubrics for younger and older adolescents in detail.





32 Practice makes perfect!

33 Videos Each video shows a young adult exemplar While no single video covers each of the GPS and PYD skills, all of the skills are discussed in at least one of the videos. For example, one mentor might choose a video that highlights “Seizing the Moment” if the mentee struggles with knowing the right time to act.


35 Gabe


37 Trevor

38 Beth’s story

39 Josh’s story

40 What tools can mentors use to boost GPS? Use the Activities! Rubrics and videos may not always be enough to promote GPS and PYD. Project GPS has a full suite of activities designed to help mentors teach skills when mentees are having trouble.

41 Puzzle Pieces

42 Breaking down long term goals into short term steps Breaking down a goal into small steps is like identifying the puzzle pieces that fit together In this activity, youth will write or draw their goal on one side of cardboard, and then make puzzle pieces that represent each of the smaller steps towards the larger goal.

43 For example: Making the Honor Roll Take notes during class Study for tests and quizzes Make a study group Ask for help on things I don’t understand Do homework Ask for extra credit


45 Now it’s your turn! Pick a goal and start puzzling!

46 Road Map and Travel Log

47 Checking Progress Checking progress towards reaching a goal can be like keeping track of the stops along a road trip. In this activity, the youth will create a “map” of the steps and strategies involved in reaching their goals. They can use this map to check progress and revise action plans.

48 Develop a “road map” to a goal, listing all the steps along the way. In one color, make a route to your goal. This is your action plan. In another color, following the route, list the actions you have already taken. Be creative! Add detours, rest stops, scenic views or maybe even some deadlines.

49 Today Make a roadmap that shows the “journey” you will take while using Project GPS with your mentee.

50 Some stops along the way include… Complete consent forms Participate in training Identify the youth you will work with Obtain consent from matches and guardians Get ID number Introduce GPS concepts and rubrics to youth with overview sessions Complete the first rubric assessment, have youth complete their own assessment Use activities as needed Complete the rubric assessment two more times, at roughly even spacing. Keep track of all activities you use in this process!


52 Reactions?


54 Project GPS benefits organizations 1. Provides measureable evidence of impact 2. Identifies areas of strength and areas that might need more attention 3. Contributes to the development of materials

55 Project GPS benefits mentors 1. Provides user-friendly empirical information about youth development 2. Activities and videos complement and extend your efforts 3. Is a great opportunity to reflect and plan with youth

56 Project GPS benefits YOUTH! 1. Identifies areas of strength and areas that might need more attention 2. Provides a well-thought out plan to reach their goals, the motivation to pursue those goals, and the life skills critical to successfully achieving those goals.

57 Reflecting on the Day 1. What happened? 2. So what? 3. Now what?

58 1. What happened? What was one thing you learned today that you will use if you implement Project GPS? How do you see Project GPS fitting into your program?

59 2. So what? How do you think Project GPS can impact the lives of your youth? How do the goals of Project GPS relate to the goals of your program?

60 3. Now what? What are the next steps you need to take in order to ensure an effective launch of Project GPS within your program?

61 Let’s hit the road! Remember to bring your GPS Email us if you have questions or feedback at Look for materials to be posted by January 19 at

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