The Becoming a Man (BAM) program from the Chicago nonprofit Youth Guidance strives to improve academic achievement and reduce violence among disadvantaged youth. BAM offers youth the opportunity to participate in one-hour, once-per-week group sessions held during the school day. Between 2009 and 2015, there were four large-scale randomized controlled trials of the BAM program carried out with 9,804 youth in the Chicago Public Schools system.

Study Goals:

The goal of the evaluation was to determine whether providing non-academic support to youth through the BAM program can reduce youth violence and improve schooling outcomes for disadvantaged students.

Research Questions:

The research questions were:

  1. What is the causal effect of the BAM program on schooling and behavioral outcomes?
  2. Is the BAM program effective among 9th and 10th grade students?
  3. Do students participating in the BAM program experience increased social-cognitive skills during the course of the two-year intervention?


The evaluation found the following:

  • Results from the various evaluations show that on a whole, the program seems likely to have positive impacts for youth. These effects vary across samples and are sometimes sensitive to exactly how researchers aggregate information across studies.
  • Youth who participated in BAM showed modest improvements in school engagement.
  • Participating in BAM reduced involvement in violent crime by 19 percent to 35 percent compared with the control group.

For more information, download the full report and report brief.

Further information

Becoming a Man (BAM)
Implementing Organization
Youth Guidance

Edna McConnell Clark Foundation

AmeriCorps Program(s)
Social Innovation Fund
Age(s) Studied
6-12 (Childhood)
13-17 (Adolescent)
Study Design(s)
Experimental (RCT)
The University of Chicago Crime and Education Labs
Published Year
Study Site Location (State)