Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $1,000,000)
Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) will use grant funding to provide evidence-based trauma informed mentoring services for three years to a total of at least 530 youth through a collaboration of 12 Catholic Charities agencies that will implement this program in 11 states. CCUSA anticipates supporting approximately 130 existing matches at the start of the grant and starting 400 new matches. The purpose of this program is to prevent juvenile delinquency, truancy, bullying and cyberbullying, drug use, gang involvement, and other high-risk activities by fostering resilience, through the development of healthy attachment, self-regulation and competency in the mentees. CCUSA has the capacity to serve as the national intermediary for this network, acting as fiscal agent, passing through no less than 90% of the funding and providing program monitoring, training, reporting, and technical assistance to its sub-grantees. The CCUSA Multi-State Mentoring Program is intended to assist youth ages 9-17 who have experienced one or more adverse childhood experiences. The list of childhood traumas includes serious illness, accidents, intense bullying, physical or emotional abuse, neglect, domestic violence, community violence, living in poverty, terrorism and flight from home as a refugee. Research shows that there is a strong connection between these adverse childhood experiences and a number of negative outcomes, including academic problems, substance abuse, truancy and mental illness. The advancement of attachment, self-regulation and competency, as well as the promotion of developmental assets in young people is associated with the sustained connection of youth with caring adults, as demonstrated through the mentoring process. The CCUSA Mentoring Network, adhering to the elements of effective practice for mentoring, recruits and trains adult mentors to provide at least four or more hours a month of one-on-one mentoring to at-risk youth for at least twelve months. Individual mentoring is supplemented with e-mentoring strategies, periodic group activities, and case management for the youth, including access to supportive resources. Mentees’ caregivers are involved at every stage of the mentoring relationship.