Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $625,000)
LUK Mentoring program will pair adult volunteers with youth ages 6-17 from Worcester County, Massachusetts. Mentors will be recruited and trained to support youth who are impacted by opioids to include youth with family members who are currently using or have used opioids, youth at high risk for using opioids, and youth who are currently using or have used opioids. LUK Mentoring integrates the Elements of Effective Practices for Mentoring into the delivery of services. The program will recruit, screen, train, and match appropriate mentors and support matches throughout their participation in the program. Mentors will provide support for youth to progress toward success in school, at home, and in life. The project will also implement enhanced training for staff and mentors to include Trauma-Informed Care; Motivational Interviewing; and Question, Persuade, Refer (suicide prevention), as well as consultation with LUK’s Behavioral Health Services. Two models will be utilized in the LUK Mentoring program: site-based for one school year (9 months) or community-based for one calendar year. Matches engage in activities at designated sites or in the community for at least one hour peer week. Virtual mentoring will be utilized when matches cannot meet in person. In most cases, mentoring will be 1:1, but may include small group-based mentoring as well. Mentor matches will also join together with staff and families for celebrations and group activities. Over the three-year project period, LUK Mentoring will support mentoring matches for 150 youth (50 per year) to increase youths’ protective factors while they work toward goals on their Mentorship Plan. The program's objectives include the following: 30% of accepted youth are matched with a mentor, 95% of accepted mentors are matched with youth, 85% of matches have at least 35 contacts throughout the length of their match, 85% of closed matches will have met for the minimum expected length of the match, no more than 5% of youth become involved with the juvenile justice system, and 85% of youth enhance social competencies and increase involvement in healthy recreational activities/hobbies. Youths’ progress will be measured using the 11-point Goal-Based Outcomes scale and reports of offending. LUK Mentoring will not use any portion of the project budget to conduct research.