Education Doctorate

Year Approved


First Advisor

Detzler, Wayne


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the lived experience of an African American church-public school partnership to determine the types of social and emotional support provided in the mentoring program. A group of 21 school leaders, church leaders, and mentors in an urban city located in the southern region of the United States were interviewed by phone. For the purposes of this study, “school leaders” referred to principals or their designees, which were the counselors at local public schools in two districts. “Church leaders” were church administrators in the outreach department of the partnering megachurch. Mentors were church members who volunteered to mentor students at the schools. Semi-structured interviews prompted participants to describe their roles, responsibilities, successes, challenges, and related background. Moustakas’ (1994) modified version of the Van Kaam Method of Analysis was used to extract significant meanings and essences of this mentoring program experience. Participants’ approaches to their roles in the mentoring program were influenced by their faith, careers, significant life events, and relationships. Three essential themes emerged from their resulting attitudes and actions in the partnership: filling the gaps, fervent collaboration, and strategic fellowship. Five types of social and emotional support were identified in grass roots strategies used by mentors and in the review of church mentoring program documents.

Degree Name

Education Doctorate

Document Type

Doctoral dissertation