Project R.E.S.T.O.R.E.

Project R.E.S.T.O.R.E. (Reconciliation and Empowerment to Support Tolerance and Race Equity) is a four-year collaborative youth violence intervention involving the St. Louis County Department of Public Health (DPH), the St. Louis County Police Department (SLCPD), three school districts in north St. Louis County (Hazelwood, Normandy, and University City), the Police Athletic League (PAL), and researchers at the University of Missouri – St. Louis (UMSL) and Southern Illinois University – Carbondale (SIU). The partnering agencies have been awarded $1.7 million from the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health to fund the implementation and longitudinal evaluation of the program. This project is the first of its kind in the region and highlights the ongoing commitment of the University of Missouri System to produce and disseminate knowledge to help effect positive change and improve the quality of life of the most vulnerable of our citizens. Project R.E.S.T.O.R.E. consists of life skills training through peer mentoring, tutoring, after-school and summer programs through PAL, and training for school personnel. The goals of Project R.E.S.T.O.R.E. are to (1) reduce problem behaviors (including violent conduct, bullying, and school dropout), (2) promote resiliency, school performance, and healthy decision-making, and (3) improve cultural competency among school personnel and police.

The primary responsibility of the Project R.E.S.T.O.R.E. research team is to assess the effectiveness of this program and to evaluate its implementation. These assessment efforts involve a longitudinal evaluation, from the spring of 2018 to the spring of 2021. In the spring of 2018, the initial sample size was 424 students—276 students from three schools implementing Project R.E.S.T.O.R.E. programming and 148 students from two schools not receiving this intervention. In addition to assessing changes in student perceptions and behaviors, the Project R.E.S.T.O.R.E. research staff are also examining the way in which the program is implemented by observing program sessions in which students learn Project R.E.S.T.O.R.E. curriculum from Teenage Health Consultants (TAHC). Further, research personnel will also be evaluating the implementation of the after-school and summer programming provided by PAL. In addition to evaluating program effectiveness and student behaviors and perceptions, the Project R.E.S.T.O.R.E. research team will also be assessing the concerns and cultural competency of school personnel. The information provided by this program and its various evaluations will enable school personnel and other relevant stakeholders to assess school safety, students’ perceptions of their schools, student behaviors, and personnel perceptions so as to make these environments safer and more conducive to learning.

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