Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $1,217,476)
Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) is uniquely positioned to drive positive outcomes for youth impacted by opioids and drug addiction through its multi-component mentoring program, Mentoring at Boys & Girls Clubs – Opioid Prevention (OPI). This innovative program will link youth with caring mentors and skill-building prevention programs while engaging them more deeply in their communities. The target population is 240 youth ages 6-17 living in rural communities located in seven counties throughout the state of New Mexico. These counties account for 67% of drug overdose deaths in the state. Subawards will be made to six Boys & Girls Club organizations (Clubs) serving these communities. Targeted youth experience risk factors in the individual, peer, family, school, and/or community domains. Family risk factors include one or more family members who have used and/or misused opioids or other substances, including methamphetamine. Rural youth experience especially high levels of risk in these areas. Youth who experience one or more risk factors are more likely to become involved in substance abuse and other problem behaviors such as juvenile delinquency. OPI project goals are to promote positive outcomes and reduce risk factors for targeted youth, and increase family and community supports to address opioid and substance abuse. Project objectives include providing mentoring and prevention services to youth, increasing supportive resources available to their families, and the implementation of community engagement events, including mentor training, youth-led prevention campaigns, and mentor-mentee group matching events. OPI project activities include group and one-on-one mentoring delivered in the youth development environment of a Boys & Girls Club; evidence-based social-emotional learning activities; and curriculum-based prevention programs. Teen mentees will be engaged in youth-initiated mentoring and social capital mapping. Program inputs include resources to support a .5 FTE prevention specialist position at each involved Club, as well as BGCA’s Opioid & Substance Use Prevention guide, featuring 29 evidence-informed prevention practices that will be integrated into mentor training and mentor-mentee activities. Program outputs include an increase in the number of law enforcement mentors, resulting in part from group matching events that bring officers together with mentees and their family members. Anticipated youth outcomes include increases in social-emotional skills and competencies, school attendance, and positive family relationships; and decreases in substance use and misuse. Progress will be measured using tracking reports, staff observations, and pre/post surveys.