Quantum Opportunities Program: A Youth Development Program (QOP)

Robert Taggart, C. Benjamin Lattimore
Opportunities Industrialization Centers of America, Inc.

FOCUS

SUMMARY

This is a comprehensive education and youth development program designed especially for disadvantaged high school students. It does not specifically target either pregnancy or STD/HIV/AIDS prevention; rather the intent is to prevent risk-taking behaviors by providing youth with healthy social and educational opportunities and intensive personal support. The intervention begins at the start of 9 th grade and continues through all 4 years of high school, including vacation periods. During this time, participants are exposed to the following: (1) 250 hours of education, including computer assisted instruction, peer tutoring, and homework assistance; (2) 250 hours of development activities (e.g., life and family skills, health, sex, family planning, drug and alcohol abuse, college planning); and (3) 250 hours of community service activities. In addition, youth receive hourly stipends and bonuses, both of which are to be deposited in a controlled savings account.

The original field study included 125 randomly selected students (half program participants, half controls) across five sites (Philadelphia, Saginaw, MI, Oklahoma City, OK, San Antonio and Milwaukee). Researchers assessed a wide range of personal, social and career-related attitudes, behaviors, and experiences beginning at the start of the program and continuing through high school graduation. They found that the positive effects of the intervention accrued slowly and steadily. By the final assessment period, program participants showed significant advantages in academic and career performance and social behavior. In particular, the researchers found that 24% of the experimental group members had children, versus 38% of control group members.

SUITABLE FOR USE IN

Although Quantum Opportunities was originally implemented in community-based agencies, in a few of the pilot sites, public schools provided space for ongoing meetings and activities. This arrangement might suit other implementations as well.

ORIGINAL INTERVENTION SAMPLE

Age, Gender
The original sample included 125 students entering the 9th grade (ages 13-17). Of this group, 88% were ages 14 or 15. The sample was approximately evenly divided between males and females.

Race/Ethnicity
76% African-American, 13% White, 11% Hispanic/Latino, Asian or Other

PROGRAM LENGTH

This is an intensive intervention designed to continue through all four years of high school, including vacation periods.

STAFFING REQUIREMENTS/TRAINING

During the original field study, one Coordinator served each site, acting as both program administrator and implementer. The person was also expected to model the importance of higher education, so Coordinators were selected who had earned a four-year degree. An intensive, 6-1/2 day training session was held for Coordinators at the start of the program; this was followed in subsequent years by four-day refresher sessions. Opportunities Industrialization Centers of American can provide your organization with training for implementing QOP.

   Primary Pregnancy Prevention
   Secondary Pregnancy Prevention
   STD/HIV/AIDS Prevention

ORIGINAL SITE
   School-Based
   Community-Based
   Clinic-Based

APPROACH
   Abstinence
   Behavioral Skills Development
   Community Outreach
   Contraceptive Access
   Contraceptive Education
   Life Option Enhancement
   Self-Efficacy/Self-Esteem
   Sexuality/STD/HIV/AIDS Education

COMPONENTS
   Adult Involvement
   Case Management
   Group Discussion
   Lectures
   Peer Counseling/Instruction
   Public Service Announcements
   Role Play
   Video
   Other
Games, audiotape
   

PASHA PROGRAM PACKAGE

The PASHA Program Package for this program includes:

  • PASHA User's Guide
  • Blueprint for Violence Prevention--Book 4: Quantum Opportunities Program
  • Prevention Minimum Evaluation Data Set (PMEDS)
  • Local Evaluator Consultant Network Directory

  • Telephone technical support on implementation and evaluation for 1 year

* A Note About the Quantum Opportunities Program
Within the PASHA collection, the Quantum Opportunities Program (QOP) is unique in two respects. First, while other programs in the PASHA collection may last for a few sessions, a few weeks, or even a few months, QOP is designed to last for four years --from the beginning of a participant's freshman year of high school through graduation.

Second, while other programs in the PASHA collection come with standardized curricular materials, QOP is best implemented when the content is completely customized to the community's specific needs and available resources. For example, in the original implementation of QOP, Program Coordinators offered classes in remedial math to program participants; your program may opt to focus on other substantive areas. Therefore, this program box does not include all the materials needed to replicate the program. Rather, it includes the program's framework, strategies and guidelines for implementing that framework along with tools for evaluation.

For more detailed guidance on developing your QOP curriculum, please contact C. Benjamin Lattimore, program developer, directly:
Opportunities Industrialization Centers of America
1415 North Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
Phone: 215-236-4500
Fax: 215-236-7480
online: www.oicworld.org