Examines whether the Our Piece of the Pie (OPP) project provides the resources it intends to enable young people to thrive and whether there are indicators that youth are being better served through OPP programs.

"The goal of Our Piece of the Pie (OPP) is to provide the opportunities and resources for young people to thrive, which include providing youth ages 14-24 with a safe harbor from the threats and allures of the streets, offering enrolled participants work-based challenges, and implementing programs designed to offer the training, skills-building, support, and assistance needed to complete high school and enroll in technical programs, 2-4 year colleges, and/or obtain long-term employment. The purpose of the evaluation was to measure whether OPP was accomplishing its core function of leading youth to more successful and productive lives and to identify the services that are making an impact" (p. 2). Only a summary of the report is available. (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Full publication title: Youth Work and Learn at Our Piece of the Pie (OPP): Findings of the Formative Evaluation of Connecticut’s Youth Development Model

Major Findings & Recommendations

• "Most youth spent considerable time with their assigned mentor/case worker, averaging about 1-3 hours per week and 61 hours during the year. “This is particularly important to the quality of the program because this mentoring relationship is the cornerstone of the Pathways program” (p.3). • "Many youth were involved in additional activities that were designed to help them reach specific academic and occupational goals, such as employment programs (21%), youth business services (16%), and educational preparation for higher education (11%)" (p.3). • “The activities were well targeted to the needs of youth. Older youth were more involved in employment and college retention related activities and younger youth were more involved in Youth Business Services. Younger youth also spent more time with [their assigned mentors]. Overall, OPP successfully created a positive environment for participants and successfully provided participants with mentorship, training, life and career direction, and support” (p.3). • “Youth who participated in employment services were more likely than similar youth in the program to obtain a job” (p.3). • “Youth who participated in educational programs were more likely to have an educational promotion” (p.3). • “Youth who were successful in the program also expressed greater feelings of empowerment” (p.3). • “Overall, the participants felt that OPP provided the kind of support, employment and practical skills, and direction that was helping them to make good life decisions for their futures” (p.4). (Abstractor: Author)