The St. Louis region has several mentoring programs for black boys and young men ages 10-29, but the impacts of mentoring on improving their social mobility and reducing the risk of violence remain unclear. Addressing this research gap will improve the region’s capacity to provide culturally competent and effective mentoring programs for black boys and young men that can benefit them in terms of (1) health and well-being, (2) ability to transition from school to work with a livable wage, as well as (3) give back to their communities.

In 2015, under the direction of Dr. Sean Joe, HomeGrown StL was established as a participatory, community-level intervention science project of the Race and Opportunity Lab, within the Center for Social Development at Washington University’s Brown School. HomeGrown StL employs a community organizing intervention research and collective impact strategy to increase collaboration and regional capacity of mentoring programs that will help us develop action plans to collaboratively build the region’s capacity and identify the best practices to mentor black boys and young men ages 10-29 in the region.

Findings from this study have the potential to inform the development of mentoring programs contributing to making Saint Louis an equitable development environment for black boys and young men and one of the urban regions with the lowest disparities in social mobility between black and white males.


The purpose of the Mentoring Alliance is to strengthen the ecosystem around mentoring for black boys and/or young men ages 10–29 in the St. Louis region that benefits them in terms of…

–health and well-being

–ability to transition from school to work with a livable wage

–give back to their communities


Regional collaboration of agencies

Sharing program calendars

Establishing a “community of practice” and “shared principles” for mentoring alliance

Some kind of shared database of youth to facilitate referrals

Co-training across agencies

Regional volunteer recruitment campaign

If you are part of a local mentoring project or you would like to get involved with our work, please reach out to Jasmine Green, the Graduate Research Assistant leading this project, at for more information.