Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $1,000,000)
After-School All-Stars (ASAS) intends to expand and enhance its current crime prevention/youth mentoring programs with the creation of a new initiative, ASAS Rising Stars Mentoring program. This funding will allow ASAS to reach 1,500 at-risk youth struggling with multiple risk factors that contribute to juvenile crime and truancy in 28 metropolitan communities in eight states (Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas). ASAS’ hybrid (group and one-on-one) mentoring program targets at-risk youth (grades 6-12th) and directly addresses the following societal problems: the influence of early exposure to risk factors on later delinquent behavior, the achievement gap, critical need for Social Emotional Learning (SEL) skills, broken relationships between law enforcement and at-risk youth, and family engagement to support caregivers as advocates for their children.
Grant funds will be used to implement the evidence-based curriculum, Positive Action; implement a variety of family engagement initiatives to support mentees and their families; implement the research-based National Institute of Out-of-School-Time's (NIOST) Survey of Academic and Youth Outcomes (SAYO) to capture program impact; and provide mentor focused professional development for mentors.
During out-of-school-time enrichment activities intentionally infused with SEL skill development, paid staff trained mentors will use best practice-aligned lesson plans to engage mentees in discussing a variety of topics including bullying, leadership, teamwork, peer influences/choices, and personal responsibility. Training and support of these mentors is a key component of the program enabling them to better reduce juvenile delinquency, truancy, and other problem and high-risk behaviors. Programs will take place in Title I schools and community centers in high poverty, metropolitan areas. Through regular, positive, structured engagement activities mentees, their mentors, and law enforcement will be given an opportunity to build genuine connections and learn from each other.
Programs goals include providing mentees with career preparedness activities and resources to build a positive sense of the future, support social emotional development and exploration of opportunities to address individual risk factors. Two significant outcomes will arise from the ASAS mentoring model: young people will be deterred from the activities associated with juvenile delinquency while community members and law enforcement officers will be provided direct opportunities to build affirming relationships and find common ground through fun activities. Other community partners include public and charter schools, a variety of corporate sponsors at each chapter, local community violence and substance abuse prevention organizations, and research-based curriculum providers.