Violence Prevention Project

Take Charge! 2: A randomized trial of mentoring to prevent youth violence


Violent injury is a major cause of morbidity and mortality among adolescents. The presence of a positive adult role model is a well-established protective factor against violence and other maladaptive outcomes among youth. Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) is the largest U.S. mentoring organization with proven effectiveness in improving youth outcomes.  However, these programs may be less effective with youth who already are exhibiting involvement in problem behavior at the time of program referral.  Take Charge!, a mentor- and professional-implemented intervention with 10-15 year old assault-injured youth, showed promise for improving perceived self efficacy for avoiding violence and for decreasing aggression and problem behavior.

The overall goal of the proposed project is to develop, implement, and evaluate a research-informed youth development program that adapts the BBBS model to work for assault-injured youth. The aims are:

  • To expand and refine Take Charge! and integrate it with BBBS practices;
  • To conduct a randomized, controlled trial in which assault-injured 10-15 year old youth recruited from emergency departments in Baltimore and Philadelphia who receive either standard ED follow-up care or the Take Charge! 2 intervention with assessment of violence-related, mental health, and educational outcomes;
  • To conduct a comprehensive process evaluation of Take Charge! 2;
  • And to accurately measure the costs of the intervention and assess cost-effectiveness.

Youth violence is a major cause of morbidity and mortality with marked disparities by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status.  This study is a critical next step in translating evidence-based research to real-world settings and practice.

Eligible participants: Youth between the ages of 10-15 years who are treated for assault injuries at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia or Johns Hopkins University Hospital

For more information contact:

Sarah Lindstrom Johnson, PhD Email:, Tel # (410) 614-3864