The Evidence Portal

Project Arrive

About the program

Project Arrive is a group mentoring program designed to support students transitioning from middle school into high school. The program seeks to increase resilience, attendance and academic performance among students at risk of dropping out and engaging in crime. Students are identified as eligible for the program based on Early Warning Indictors (see 'Further Resources') to assess grade point average, attendance rates and standardised test scores. 

Activities and discussions are designed to address typical issues for teens with topics including identity development, resisting problem behaviour, resolving conflict and building study skills. 

Mentors are equipped with curriculum resources and activities whilst being encouraged to be creative and go 'off-script' where required to address needs unique to each group as they arise and to stay authentic and relevant.

Who does it work for?

Project Arrive is designed in the USA for students transitioning from middle school to high school middle school (in the USA this transition is between ages 13-14 whereas in Australia this transition occurs age 12-13). The program targets students at risk of dropping out from school.

The program has only been evaluated in the USA (Kuperminc, Chan & Hale, 2018). 

One quasi-experimental study was conducted with 185 students (114 in the intervention group and 71 in the control group). The median age for students in the study is 14. The majority of students come from low income backgrounds and just over one third live in a 2-parent family. The majority of students are Hispanic or Latino. 

The program has not been evaluated in Australia or with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities. It has also not been evaluated with culturally and linguistically diverse populations in Australia.

What outcomes does it contribute to?

Overall, participants receiving the intervention as compared with the comparison group experienced the following outcomes:  

Positive outcomes:

  • increased engagement with pro-social peers
  • participants who reported a more positive group climate showed increases in meaningful participation at home
  • increased engagement in caring peer relationships
  • increased engagement in meaningful school participation

No effects:

  • risk of juvenile justice involvement
  • empathy
  • self-efficacy

Negative outcomes:

  • No negative effects were found

How effective is it?

Overall, the program had mixed effect on client outcomes.

How strong is the evidence?

Mixed research evidence (with no adverse effects)

  • At least one high-quality randomised controlled trial (RCT)/quasi-experimental design (QED) study reports statistically significant positive effects for at least one outcome, AND
  • An equal number or more RCT/QED studies of similar size and quality show no observed effects than show statistically significant positive effects, AND
  • No RCT/QED studies show statistically significant adverse effects.

How is it implemented?

Project Arrive mentoring groups consist of 6-8 students. These groups meet weekly for 50 minutes through the school year. Two co-mentors run the group sessions.  

The program consists of 5 stages:

  1. Forming
  2. Storming
  3. Norming
  4. Performing 
  5. Adjourning

Mentors are given a binder with program procedures, contact information, and curricular materials. They also have access to the Project Arrive website that includes a menu of activities that can be completed with students:

The activities are grouped into the 5 stages above and they address common adolescent issues:

  • Identity development
  • Building social connections and relationships
  • Resisting problem behaviour, peer pressure and health decision making
  • Self care, self esteem and positive influences
  • Resolving conflict, violence and bullying
  • Goal setting, identify motivations and support
  • Building study skills

Mentors are encouraged to select relevant activities or to work with their mentees to develop their own activities and discuss topics in line with overall program goals. This “curriculum with creativity,” encourages mentor and mentee autonomy within an overall framework of building a sense of connectedness to school and to the group, and fostering positive social and academic development.

How much does it cost?

Not reported.

What else should I consider?

Mentors are school staff (cousenllors, advisors, principles, other staff) and community partners (staff of local organisations and services). 

A full-time program coordinator:

  • conducts a 4-hour training session with mentors
  • supports mentors to recruit and enrol students in the program
  • meets monthly with mentoring teams at the school
  • provides ongoing match and logistical support

This program is based on a group mentoring model and therefore the intended outcomes are intrinsically connected to establishing a strong and positive group climate (cohesiveness and connected of mentors and mentees within their group) (Kuperminc, Chan & Hale, 2018).  

Descriptive data collected in focus groups by the researchers indicates that:

  • routines and rituals related to the program increase group cohesion and a sense of group identity
  • Relationships with mentors and peers are central to forming a sense of belonging within the group and at school.
  • A shared sense of ownership and influence in group decision making is important.
  • Co-mentoring is powerful, especially when mentors bring different strengths.
  • A structured curriculum is useful for inexperienced mentors
  • Key program challenges include scheduling difficulties and mentor role conflicts as both authoritative figures and as more informal mentors.

Where does the evidence come from?

1 QED study conducted in the USA comprising a sample of 185 people, 114 people receiving interventions and 71 people in the comparison group (Kuperminc, Chan & Hale, 2018). 

Additional de-identified data available was used to strengthen statistical findings specifically for academic outcomes. The academic sample included a total of 1219 students meeting Early Warning Indicators (a risk-identification system) criteria  for program eligibility, consisting of 239 Project Arrive participants and 980 comparisons students not receiving the program.

Further resources

The Project Arrive website:        

For information on Early Warning Indicators, see:

Kuperminc, G. P., Chan, W. Y. & Hale, K. E. (2018). Group mentoring for resilience: increasing positive development and reducing involvement in the juvenile justice system. National Criminal Justice Reference Service

For information on Tuckman's model of small group development see: Tuckman, B W & Jensen, MAC 2010, ‘Stages of Small-Group Development Revisited’, Group Facilitation: A Research & Applications Journal, vol. 10, pp. 43–48, viewed 19 February, 2021, DOI 10.1177/105960117700200404

Last updated:

16 Feb 2022

Was this content useful?
We will use your rating to help improve the site.
Please don't include personal or financial information here
Please don't include personal or financial information here

We acknowledge Aboriginal people as the First Nations Peoples of NSW and pay our respects to Elders past, present, and future. 

Informed by lessons of the past, Department of Communities and Justice is improving how we work with Aboriginal people and communities. We listen and learn from the knowledge, strength and resilience of Stolen Generations Survivors, Aboriginal Elders and Aboriginal communities.

You can access our apology to the Stolen Generations.

Top Return to top of page Top