Best Men Results


In the past, Best Friends has been recognized by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, Secretary of Education Rod Paige, and the DC Public Schools. The program measures its effectiveness by having all participants complete an anonymous survey at the beginning and at the end of each school year. The peer-reviewed scientific research has shown that junior high and middle school-aged girls in the Best Friends program compared to their peers in DC Public Schools were:

Six and a half times less likely to have sex.

About two times less likely to drink alcohol.

Eight times less likely to use drugs.

More than two times less likely to smoke.

The above research was published in Volume III, Number 4, 2005 of the Adolescent & Family Health Journal. See a .pdf file of the article "Can Abstinence Work? An Analysis of the Best Friends Program," by Robert Lerner, Phd.

In past survey results:

Among 5th-8th grade girls who had ever used drugs, 59% became drug-free.

Among 5th-8th grade girls who had ever used alcohol, 52% became alcohol-free.

Among 5th-8th grade girls who had ever been sexually active, 61% became abstinent.

Since 1987, thousands of girls have participated in the Best Friends programs in the District of Columbia Public Schools. Among the students who continued the program in high school Diamond Girl Leadership, there is a 100 percent high school graduation rate. From 1996 through 2009, Best Friends Foundation has granted $848,089 in scholarships.

We are proud of our success, but there is still work to be done. Gang membership has skyrocketed to over 800,000 teens across the country. Violence is at an all-time high. More than 20 percent of our program participants say that they have missed a day or more of school because they fear for their safety. For many children, the outlook is bleak. That's where Best Friends comes in. We teach thousands of children that the best kind of friend to have is one who makes you a better person. And for eight of their most formative years, that is exactly the kind of person they can depend on us to be. It is our goal that girls will not only realize their potential — but choose to live up to it.


We know our programs are reducing risk behavior. Each year, independent analysts have taken the pre and post-surveys and created computerized data files, which included the merging of the Fall and Spring surveys by survey respondent. Althea Nagai, Ph.D., an independent statistical consultant, uses these data files, tabulates the results and compares them to findings from D.C. public schools' Youth Risk Behavior Survey (administered independently by the Center for Disease Control). When compared to their eighth grade peers:

Drug use is 33% lower among Best Men boys.

• Alcohol use is 22% lower among Best Men boys.

• Sexual activity is 20% lower among Best Men boys.


Research indicates that students who believe, as our students do, that they have a place to belong and support from friends are more likely to reject premarital sex, drugs, and alcohol. Although the Foundation focuses primarily on reducing risk behavior, we are also keenly aware of the importance of cultivating the factors which contribute to that success — namely, positive peer groups, feelings of "connectedness" with the school, and personal guidance from adults. That is why the following data is so important:

Some findings from Best Men programs past surveys :

Best Men boys in Los Angeles who had a role model increased from 58 to 85%.

• Best Men boys in San Diego who had a hero in their life increased from 54 to 92
%.

While we are proud of our progress, there is still work to be done. Gang membership has skyrocketed to over 800,000 teens nationwide. Violence is at an all-time high. Half of our Best Men boys report that they were victims of violence. Twenty-two percent say that they have missed a day or more of school because they fear for their safety. These are issues that the Best Friends Foundation must address. With community, state, and federal support, we will continue to work with boys across the country who so desperately need a reason to reject premarital sex, drugs, alcohol, and violence—and people in their lives who care when they do.

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