Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $425,000)
Total Action Against Poverty’s (TAP’s) Girls United program will reduce risk factors and promote protective factors for girls ages 12–17 in the City of Roanoke, Virginia, who come in contact with the juvenile justice system. Girls United will place them on a path to success, stability, and long-term contribution to society.
Through partnership with the local juvenile justice system and the local school system, Girls United will recruit girls who are involved with the local Court Service Unit 23-A. TAP will work with the girls in groups divided according to age.
First, Girls United will implement a direct service program for these girls to reduce reoffending. Staff of Girls United will lead these girls through the evidence-based Girls Circle curriculum. This curriculum, appropriate for pre-teen and teenage girls, focuses on themes relevant to girls’ lives that build on protective factors and improve relationships in a format that interests and engages girls. Girls Circle is the first gender-responsive program in the country to demonstrate effectiveness in reducing delinquency for girls and is listed on SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs as well as the Office of Justice Programs’ National Criminal Justice Reference Service.
Girls United will also enhance and expand two existing prevention and early intervention programs to meet the specific needs of girls involved in the juvenile justice system. First, Girls United will layer in with the Girls Circle curriculum another curriculum called African American Culture and Contemporary Issues (AACCI), which TAP has used successfully with school-aged African American males to address and prevent delinquency. TAP will adapt this curriculum to girls. Second, Girls United will take TAP’s successful Coaching Boys Into Men curriculum, also used to address and prevent violence, and will adapt it to girls using the sister program, Athletes as Leaders.
To build skills among the juvenile justice system personnel to deliver these programs to girls, Girls United will also train police and juvenile justice staff on the Athletes as Leaders curriculum. They will co-teach the curriculum with TAP staff, as well as serve as advocates for the program.
To achieve these goals, TAP has secured letters of support from the local juvenile justice system, the police department and the school system. Girls United staff will deliver all programing in partnership with the school system, teaching curricula to middle school-aged girls during the school day and high school-aged girls after school.
Finally, TAP will include in this program a mentoring component; girls enrolled in Girls United will be paired with mentors from the local chapters of two sororities (AKA and Delta) and will meet one-on-one with mentors regularly to increase positive adult influences in the girls’ lives. Mentoring activities will be based on Elements of Effective Practices in Mentoring™. This guidebook is a featured resource of the National Mentoring Resource Center, a program of OJJDP.