To our regular blog readers – welcome back! For those who are joining us for the first time – we welcome you and hope you will enjoy what we have in store for you!

Just a few months back, we introduced you to the first cohort of Altitude. With the end of summer officially here, we are sad to see our first group leave but, we are also very proud of their successful completion of the program!

At this time, we are working on wrapping up the program’s evaluation activities. What’s exciting about Altitude is that, not only is it a unique social enterprise venture, it is also Raising the Roof’s first program to be evaluated through a youth-led, participant-driven evaluation approach. This means that, unlike traditional methods of evaluation, participants from the program are active stakeholders of the evaluation rather than passive participants. In practice, this gives us the opportunity to involve the participants themselves in determining what Altitude’s success indicators are, as opposed to Raising the Roof imposing what success should look like.

In this blog post, we break down the steps that were taken to conduct Altitude’s program evaluation.

Evaluation Process – the steps:

What is Success?

First, a group session was held to brainstorm what the success indicators should be. This session yielded the following five success indicators:

  1. Graduation from program / Employment post-program
  2. Increased understanding around the issue of homelessness
  3. Attainment of sales experience
  4. Personal growth and development
  5. Skills development

The Evaluation Method – Work Portfolios:

Once these success indicators were identified, the next step was to choose the evaluation method. With the decision-making power to decide on an evaluation method, the participants unanimously opted for a creative approach: work portfolios.

While non-traditional, work portfolios offer a unique opportunity to assess the program against the five success indicators previously mentioned. For instance, the portfolios were used to evaluate the program’s role in:

  • Preparing its participants for employment after graduating from the program
  • Increasing participants’ knowledge of homelessness
  • Building participants’ sales experience
  • Developing participants’ personal and professional skills

In addition to being an evaluation method, the work portfolios offer the added benefit of helping the program participants showcase their work experience and work samples throughout the program.

Special Thank You

Raising the Roof would like to extend a special thank you to all those involved in the evaluation process. This evaluation would not have been possible without the help and input from Altitude’s very own Brand Ambassadors, leaders, and lastly, from the helpful resources and training workshops offered by YouthREX. For those interested in conducting their own youth-led program evaluation, be sure to check out YouthREX’s wide array of (free) resources available on their website.

Interested in Learning More?

Raising the Roof will be participating in YouthREX’s upcoming Provincial Knowledge to Action Exchange for Youth Wellbeing event on October 25th at York University, Toronto. Maoreen Rose (one of Altitude’s first cohort Brand Ambassador) and Jenny Lam (Raising the Roof’s Project Manager of Community Initiatives) will be speaking about Altitude’s youth-led evaluation program, alongside many other exciting speakers! Make sure to register for this event if you are interested in learning more about Altitude and other great youth-led initiatives!

If you are unable to attend this event but are interested in learning about Altitude’s evaluation process and results, please stay tuned for the release of our final report in the next few months!

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