Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $2,500,000)
Sea Research Foundation, Inc. (SRF) will expand and enhance its innovative group mentoring program, STEM Mentoring. The goal of STEM Mentoring is to positively impact the social development and academic achievement, and reduce the juvenile delinquency, of at-risk youth ages 6–10. By providing high-quality, STEM-based group mentoring experiences, STEM Mentoring aims to reduce mentees’ high-risk behaviors, improve protective factor indicators, and increase their knowledge of and interest in STEM topics and careers. A secondary goal is to provide peer mentors ages 12–17 with support and training to help them build strong, positive relationships with their mentees.
STEM Mentoring will achieve these goals by connecting youth with mentors (4:1 mentee-to-mentor ratio) to engage in weekly STEM activities. SRF is applying for a 24-month award to include three months of startup, an 18-month implementation period, and three months of closeout. SRF proposes to make subawards to at least 85 affiliate sites in at least 25 states and territories. Sites will engage up to 2,040 mentees and 510 mentors — including a subset of 125 peer mentors, targeting youth who a) live in communities with risk factors such as high rates of poverty, unemployment, violent crime, and/or drug addiction; b) attend schools that have a high percentage of students eligible for free and reduced-price meals and high rates of absenteeism; c) are American Indian or Alaska Native; d) have one or more parents in the military; and/or e) live in rural communities.
To achieve the project goals and objectives, SRF will: 1) provide sites with training and technical assistance based on the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring; 2) provide sites with the STEM Mentoring curriculum and associated content training and technical assistance; and 3) measure the project impact.
Pre-and post-surveys for mentees and mentors, and surveys for Program Coordinators, will assess project progress. On a quarterly basis, SRF will use its online reporting system to collect data on social and academic improvement, involvement in juvenile delinquency, and mentor-mentee relationships. SRF intends to use this information to meet OJJDP’s performance measures requirements and to generate internal program improvements.