Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Learning, Leadership and Change

First Advisor

Robert Calvert

First Committee Member

Mark Nagel

Second Committee Member

Juan Villoro


Unaccompanied immigrant youth (UIY) face obstacles that can hinder their education in their host countries. Given that educational attainment can help interrupt intergenerational cycles of poverty, the examination of support systems for UIY is critical. This study examined the role of sports-based youth development (SBYD) programs in supporting UIY students using a utilization-focused evaluation. To do this, two groups’ high school graduation rates were compared: (a) UIY participating in an SBYD program and (b) UIY not participating in a SYBD program. In addition to this quantitative analysis, UIY were surveyed and interviewed to contextualize the results of the graduation rate comparison. The graduation rate analysis demonstrated that students who take part in an SBYD program were more likely to graduate than those who did not. The participants reported that their SBYD program connected them to other people and motivated them to continue their education. In short, this study provides evidence that SBYD programs can promote social inclusion and educational attainment for UIY.

Keywords: Unaccompanied immigrant youth, sports-based youth development program, utilization-focused evaluation, graduation rate





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