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This is not the case with the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program. The mentoring component of the ChalleNGe Program is fully integrated into the residential phase of the program. Over 90 percent of ChalleNGe mentors are nominated by cadets at the beginning of the residential phase, eliminating the isolation many mentors feel when matched with strangers. Mentors are then screened, trained and matched with cadets by the 13th week – the halfway point of the residential phase.
Following the match, mentoring relationships are closely monitored and supported by case managers for 14 months. During this time, mentors are actively involved in assisting cadets in the implementation of a life plan developed during the residential phase.
Mentors provide the continuity that most high impact programs lack. Case managed mentoring relationships help provide a seamless transition for cadets from the residential phase back into the community. As a result, most ChalleNGe Program graduates are employed or in school two and three years after graduation.
Longitudinal studies show that ChalleNGe participants are continuing to engage in positive and productive lifestyles two or three years after completing the program. Most continue to benefit from ongoing mentoring relationships.