Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $625,000)
The overarching goal of Volunteers of America Los Angele’s (VOALA) mentoring program is to connect trained, screened mentors with youth who have been impacted by the opioid crisis, providing these youth with the caring adult influence that research has shown to increase their positive social development, while reducing the likelihood that they will participate in negative behaviors. VOALA will target services to youth 17 or younger who are using opioids and/or who are impacted by family members who use opioids, with a focus on youth in foster care, youth who are homeless, and youth who are victims of human trafficking. Based on demographics in the regions VOALA serves (including South LA, Compton, Pomona, and Lancaster), VOALA anticipates that the majority of the youth to be served will be young people of color. The program will recruit and train 125 mentors, and engage 250 youth who have been impacted by the opioid crisis. Of youth engaged in mentoring, 90% will remain in mentoring for at least 12 months, and 90% will connect to at least one supportive service. Of those who complete 12 months of mentoring, 80% will exhibit at least one positive behavior, 80% of youth will report reduced opioid misuse; 80% will participate in at least one family engagement activity, and less than 20% of youth with a history of justice involvement will recidivate within 12 months of completing the program. VOALA will produce quarterly reports detailing project implementation and impact.