Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Melissa Swauger, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

J. Beth Mabry, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Dana Hysock-Witham, Ph.D.


Using an in-depth case study, this dissertation qualitatively explored how the Boys and Girls Club of Harrisburg focuses its organizational efforts to serve youth in the Harrisburg area to prevent delinquency. The research involved semi-structured interviews with eighteen staff members and former club members to gauge their experiences in the Boys and Girls Club programs. Studying the activities, methods, and inner workings of the Club offered insight into how one community organization can effectively create favorable outcomes among youth. On an institutional level, the Club works to prevent delinquency by implementing a mission statement that prioritizes youth safety and development and organizing programs that maintain youth interest and offer educational and career exploration support. The Club staff also creates a culture of safety and positivity and focuses on character and self-development. Through interactions with youth, staff and mentors develop relationships that influence youth through guidance, accountability, and mentoring. This in-depth study of the institutional structure, culture, and staff/youth interactions demonstrates the value in mentoring youth through programs, focusing on education, and offering opportunities for youth to succeed as methods to prevent or reduce delinquency.

Included in

Criminology Commons