Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $617,668)
Life House Youth Center’s Mentoring Program will address an essential need for services for youth affected by opioid addiction. There is a glaring lack of available resources for youth who are at-risk in Franklin and Crawford counties of Missouri. These rural areas have been inundated with opioid use and continue to struggle with poverty and unemployment. The youth served by Life House Youth Center (LHYC) face significant barriers and challenges in the form of mental health concerns, substance use, victimization, trafficking, criminal activity, lack of quality education, and few employment opportunities. Without effective intervention and services such as quality mentoring programming, these youth will struggle to break the cycle of poverty and opioid addiction. LHYC will provide mentoring services to 40 youth (120 over a 3-year period) ages 10-17. Services will include small group activities, service-learning opportunities, field trips, tutoring and academic help, counseling services (provided through PreventEd, contracted services), and direct connections to substance abuse treatment (through Preferred Family Health), as needed. Results and benefits expected include (1) improved relationships with authority figures in and outside of school and parental/caregiver relationships, (2) increased positive use of leisure time, (3) improved positive identity, self-esteem, interpersonal competence, cultural competence, resilience skills, mental health, social competency, and peaceful conflict resolution, (4) improved sense of empowerment and community connections through service learning (5) increased number of developmental assets attained, (6) improved refrainment from drugs and alcohol and delinquent behaviors, and (7) improve academic performance and demonstrate reduced drop-out rates.