Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $624,990)
Volunteers of America, Utah: Amplified Mentoring Program seeks to increase group and one-to-one mentoring services for youth between the ages of 10 and 17 in Salt Lake County who are at risk for opioid misuse, who are misusing or have misused opioids, and/or who have a family history of opioid misuse. Volunteers of America, Utah has over 30 years of experience providing impactful prevention services and substance abuse treatment services and will leverage this expertise to ensure the most vulnerable youth are served. Currently, the Amplified Mentoring Program provides 72 group mentoring cycles annually at 7 community partnership sites throughout Salt Lake County, and supports 60 one-to-one mentoring matches. Current outcome data demonstrates the program’s effectiveness at increasing perceptions of social support, and risk of drug use, as well as decreasing the rate of drug use among youth already using substances. Of the participants surveyed, 35.6 percent reported an increase in social support, 62.7 percent reported increased positive attitudes toward school and 91.5 percent of youth reported less favorable attitudes towards drug use. FY 2021 Funding will allow the Amplified Mentoring Program to expand group mentoring opportunities to a minimum of three new sites, continue supporting current one-to-one matches, and match additional eligible youth with a volunteer mentor. It is estimated that 1,494 youth will be served during the three-year project period and that 70 volunteer mentor-mentee matches will be maintained each year. The Amplified Mentoring Program has two main goals: (1) to strengthen and expand group and one-to-one mentoring opportunities for Salt Lake County youth impacted by opioid misuse and drug addiction and (2) to reduce youth substance use and juvenile justice system involvement through evidence-based strategies that reduce risk factors and increase protective factors for youth. Progress towards these goals will be measured through pre- and post-test surveys that measure outputs including the number of youth served, mentoring hours provided and number of mentors recruited and retained. Data will be reviewed on a monthly basis to ensure achievement of program goals. No portion of the budget will be used to conduct research.