Program Evaluation

Sunday Friends

Since 2005, Sunday Friends has collaborated every two years with a professional research team from a local university to conduct a survey-based evaluation of our program and its results.

"The tremendous consistency across the Youth, Adult and Volunteer surveys suggests that the Program is overwhelmingly successful in meeting its desired outcomes. Sunday Friends’ community-building and financial literacy-oriented, working alternative to charity approach based on education is successful at fostering the developmental assets and achieving its goals to empower families." - Dr. Carol Ann Gittens, Interim Dean of the School of Education, Santa Clara University


In 2016, a Santa Clara University (SCU) research team led by Dr. Carol Ann Gittens, Associate Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, analyzed extensive data collected in 2015 and 2016 through Sunday Friends programs. This evaluation had a special focus. The goal was to assess our program’s success in instilling “Developmental Assets” in children.

The goal was guided by the research of The Search Institute, which has demonstrated that 40 developmental assets - values and experiences - directly support and predict healthy youth development as well as success in school and in life. Examples of developmental assets (the ones that scored highest with Sunday Friends, in fact) are: Responsibility, Achievement Motivation, Self-Esteem, Planning and Decision Making, School Engagement, and Homework.

The Search Institute has shown that 31 assets are sufficient to predict successful futures. The SCU Evaluation demonstrated that Sunday Friends is effectively imparting 38 out of the 40.

In her conclusion, Dr. Gittens wrote:

“The results from the 2016 Supplemental Parent Survey revealed that the Sunday Friends Program has tremendous positive impact across the many internal and external domains – known as assets - recognized by the Search Institute as being vital for a child’s well-being and development. These impacts are attributable to the numerous and varied classes, presentations, community partnerships and support services, and volunteer interactions available to parents and adult participants as well as the robust youth activities that occur at each site throughout the program day.” read more...

Click here to view Dr. Gittens’ full conclusions about the 2016 Evaluation of Sunday Friends’ success in instilling Developmental Assets.


In 2015, we collaborated with Dr. Carol Ann Gittens, Interim Dean of the Santa Clara University School of Education. Her team extensively surveyed 119 parents, 81 youths and 136 volunteers who participate with Sunday Friends at all three of our program sites. Dr. Gittens writes:

In conclusion, there is ample evidence that Sunday Friends is achieving its mission to educate children and their families in order to foster a commitment to schooling and academic success. The Sunday Friends Program excels at its mission to promote financial literacy, and nurture the capacity to consider and plan for the future. Furthermore, it can be concluded with confidence that Sunday Friends continues to actualize its vision to break the cycle of poverty through education and the development of life skills that will enhance well-being among parents and children.
Click here to download the Complete 2015 Evaluation Report. Click here to view Highlights from the 2015 Evaluation report.

Prior to this evaluation, Sunday Friends worked with a consultant, Dr. Eleanor A. Smith, funded by Bella Vista Foundation, to identify the top three "outcomes" for our Sunday Friends program, along with a set of "indicators" for each outcome. Reaching an outcome (goal) requires success with its “indicators”. In the 2015 Evaluation, each indicator was measured through a number of survey questions. Conclusions were then drawn about Sunday Friends' success in achieving the defined outcomes.

In the final report, Dr. Gittens wrote about the conclusions: "A review of the questions on each scale revealed an extraordinarily high reliability and consistency. The noteworthy consistency allows Sunday Friends to have tremendous confidence in the results related to these scales."

Sunday Friends' Three Primary Outcomes:

OUTCOME #1 - Parent's Behavior Fosters Their Children's Healthy Development

OUTCOME #2 - Children Demonstrate Pro-Social and Pro-Education Attitudes and Behaviors

OUTCOME #3 - Family Members Understand and Practice Sound Financial Management Behaviors

Additional Sunday Friends Outcomes:

In addition to Sunday Friends’ top three Program Outcomes listed above, we were also able to extrapolate additional outcomes from the survey questions:

OUTCOME #4 - Violence Prevention

OUTCOME #5 - Stress Management

OUTCOME #6 - Health and Nutrition

OUTCOME #7 - Community Connectedness

OUTCOME #8 - Service-Orientation Impact for Volunteers

Click here to download the Complete 2015 Evaluation Report. Click here to view Highlights from the 2015 Evaluation report.


In 2013, we collaborated with Dr. Claudio Vera Sanchez of San Jose State University's Justice Studies Department. His team extensively surveyed 53 parents, 76 youths and 57 volunteers. Click here to download the 2013 Evaluation Report. Dr. Sanchez writes:

“Sunday Friends is a non-profit organization that does what government programs have been unable to do; that is, it builds social and cultural capital, develops skills that augment competitiveness in the marketplace…,engages children with educational activities which may have inter-generational effects on family poverty, and fosters civic duty (e.g., community engagement), just to name a few.”


In 2011, we collaborated with Dr. James Lee, Dr. Yoko Baba and Dr. Claudio Vera Sanchez of San Jose State University's Sociology Department, who extensively interviewed 200 parents, 150 youths and 76 volunteers. Dr. Lee and his class received the Community Engagement and Service Learning Award for Community Collaborative Projects for their work on the program evaluation that year. Click here to download the 2011 Evaluation Report. Dr. Lee writes:

“Overall, the survey findings support the effectiveness of Sunday Friends’ programming. The economy serves to motivate desired attitudes and behaviors. Activities serve to educate and inspire positive attitudes toward education. Outcomes appear to be increased Developmental Assets, social capital, and healthy eating habits. Adults, children, and volunteers echo similar sentiments when it comes to the positive impact of the program. The results of this evaluation show that the Sunday Friends intervention may provide low-income families with some tools to empower themselves. It helps marginalized individuals prevail against their social conditions, practice agency and resistance, and avoid “helplessness.”