Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Lynne B. Orr


Programs that include skills to help girls successfully navigate the difficulties of preadolescence have been shown to be beneficial. One such youth development program in the southeastern part of the United States began in 2014 but has had no formal evaluation completed. The purpose of this qualitative study was to conduct a utilization-focused process evaluation, asking questions that addressed the perceptions of a school leader (n = 1) and volunteers of the program (n = 8). Their input was solicited concerning successful implementation strategies used, and recommendations for adaptations, recruitment, and volunteer training. Semistructured interviews were conducted using predetermined open-ended, questions. Open coding was used to discover the most common themes. After analyzing the data using VERBI's Software, MAXQDA, the identified themes were (a) successful elements of the program, (b) elements of the program that were not working, (c) suggestions for adaptations to improve the outcomes for participants, and (d) essential points to consider when recruiting new volunteers. Study participants reported that many of the girls participating in the program made positive changes in their behavior, exhibited improved self-esteem, and expanded their support system. Key findings will be discussed with the program administrators to assist them in recruiting and training new volunteers and to suggest administrative adjustments. Positive social change will be facilitated by offering ideas to the administrators that may result in expansion of the program, allowing more girls in the community to participate and experience positive results.