Press Release 2.17.2022 Study Confirms Mentoring Makes a Significant Difference in Youth Overcoming Pandemic-related Challenges
February 2, 2022


Contact: Julie Barschow, Director of Development
(512) 323-6371 (phone)

Study Confirms Mentoring Makes a Significant Difference in Youth Overcoming Pandemic-related Challenges

Austin, TX – February 17, 2022 – Seedling Foundation, a nonprofit organization providing school-based mentoring for children impacted by parental incarceration, recently released its annual program evaluation showing that children who had access to a Seedling mentor had stronger social, emotional, and school-based outcomes than children who were without a mentor during the 2020-21 school year. 

Seedling Foundation recently released its independent program evaluation conducted by Dr. Karen Looby, an Austin-based researcher and program evaluator with more than 30 years of experience in public education.  The 2020-21 program evaluation compared outcomes for children in several categories including personal development skills, persistence, school engagement, and attendance.  The results of the survey show that students who met with a Seedling mentor had significantly higher positive outcomes than students who did not meet with their mentor in the areas of persistence (84.2% vs. 73,3%), student engagement (88% vs.67.3%), and positive attendance outcomes (65.6% vs. 42.1%).  The report also states that overall, 87% of Seedling mentees who met with their mentors had three or more positive outcomes on the selected measures. 

“We are very proud of our staff and mentors and grateful to the school districts for the hard work and persistence that went into finding effective ways for mentors to meet with mentees last year when mentors were not able to visit campuses.  The results for our mentees are remarkable,” said Dan Leal, Seedling Foundation Executive Director.

The program evaluation concludes that “in a year characterized by increased stressors of the pandemic in addition to adverse childhood experiences resulting from the trauma of having an incarcerated parent, mentoring becomes increasingly important in the mitigation of potentially negative impacts,” (Looby, 2021).

About Seedling Foundation: Since 2006, Seedling Foundation has provided school-based mentoring for children impacted by parental incarceration. During the 2020-21 school year, Seedling mentors provided mentoring for 361 children in more than 10 Central Texas school districts, including Austin ISD, Del Valle ISD, Pflugerville ISD, KIPP Public Schools, and Hays CISD with 518 of the children considered active in the program.   Each year, Seedling Foundation also awards scholarships of up to $5,000 to 8th grade students to use toward their post-secondary education.  Seedling is a 501 (C) (3) non-profit organization, Tax ID #74-2841791.  Donations are tax deductible. To learn more about Seedling or to become a mentor visit Seedling’s website at or call (512) 323-6371.

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