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A Mentoring Program for Youth

​In January 2012, the Bakari© Program entered its’ fourth year and developed a partnership with local school districts throughout San Luis Obispo County and community agencies to provide the program to male and female youth between the ages of 14-17 years who may be vulnerable to truancy, substance use, academic underachievement, poor peer and familial relationships, and intersecting with the juvenile justice system.  In order to work in concert with the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education’s academic calendar, youth participate in the program for 9 months (6-months of programming with a at least 3-months of follow-up activities and programming).  

Since January 2012, the Bakari© Program has graduated over 45 male and female high school youth throughout San Luis Obispo County.  Of these youth, 100% have completed the follow-up phase, 90% are on track for gradutation, nearly 50% have secured part-time emplyment, and over 90% have achieved some form of high school education (remaining 10% of youth are in high school).    


Program Structure of the Bakari© Mentoring Program

The overall structure of the program is unique and consists of weekly three-hour psycho-educational sessions held every Wednesday for youth participants.  Youth referred and accepted into the program are introduced to six areas of mastery that incorporate instructional and experiential intervention, which promotes educational and psychological development and re-socialization in order to facilitate progress toward responsible adulthood.  The six areas or levels of mastery include: self-knowledge and self-awareness, history, relationships, skill development (i.e., anger management and conflict resolution, communication skills, career development, economic empowerment, health and wellness, and substance use/abuse), leadership, and community service.  Additionally, weekly job readiness and professional development and tutoring classes are facilitated along with occasional group community volunteer service activities.  As of 2014 the Bakari© Program has implemented a "College-Bound" component of the program to provide youth opportunities to prepare for and pursue higher education.  Moreover, mentor-mentee activities that facilitate pro-social behavior among youth are also infused throughout the duration of the program. Parenting groups (an English speaking group and a bilingual/bicultural group) are also held on a weekly basis during the same time period as the general youth session.

The program is also distinctive because weekly one-to-one and group mentoring is included and provided by college students and community volunteers who commit to each cohort of youth.  Additionally, an evaluative component is built into the program and facilitated by a research team of college students whereby youth and parents are assessed throughout the program across an array of psychological, social, and emotional constructs.


Since the inception of the Bakari Project© in Irvine over 18 years ago, the program has been very effective in working with adolescents. To date, the program in Irvine has served over 350 at-risk youth from 9th to 12th grade and has consistently yielded: an overall graduation rate of 95%; 70% college attendance rate; an absence of gang involvement; less than 5% of youth involvement

in the criminal justice system; and less than 1% teenage pregnancy.

Given the success of the Bakari Project© in Irvine, the program was launched in 2008 throughout San Luis Obispo County as a 12-month intensive mentoring program for high-risk male youth involved in the juvenile justice system and classified as wards of the court.  This program, now known as the Bakari© Mentoring Program (Bakari© Program), is  particularly unique and distinctive because not only does the program focus on the educational and skill development aspects of the original Bakari Project©, one-to-one mentoring is also provided by college students and community volunteers which serves as a major foundation of the program. The Bakari© Program is also culture and gender specific by design.

The first three years of the Bakari© Program revealed promising results in being effective in assisting this unique population with the skills needed to successfully transition back into the community. From September 2008-November 2011, the program yielded a 65% graduation rate with over 50% of youth securing full-time employment, and 100% of the youth completing over 150 hours of community volunteer service hours throughout San Luis Obispo County.


The 2012 Bakari Summer Institute for Girls Abbreviated Program in Review: A Pilot Program

For more information please contact:


Roslyn M. Caldwell, Ph.D.​

Program Director​/COO

P.O. BOX 5253

San Luis Obispo, CA 93403



"The Bakari Program is a wonderful program that works with youth in our community; an important mission. The youth are amazing and have been a great help to our program".
                                                             -  Ms. Lisa Ray
                                       Children's Resource Network

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