Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $681,819)
Operation Restoration in partnership with Son of a Saint will provide mentorship services to New Orleans youth that promote positive mentoring relationships, encourage peer connections, provide outlets for energy and creativity, and build a solid foundation of skills for academic and career success. Operation Restoration works specifically with girls ages 10-17 who have been affected by incarceration whether they have been involved in the justice system themselves or have a family member who is or is formerly incarcerated. Son of a Saint works with boys aged 10-18 who are growing up without their fathers due to their fathers’ long-term incarceration, death, deportation, or willful abandonment. By providing positive relationships and critical resources to vulnerable youth, Operation Restoration and Son of a Saint provide preventative services to reduce opioid misuse, addiction, and death. Operation Restoration and Son of a Saint will provide mentorship, support services, and referral services to a minimum of 100 youth who are at risk for or affected by opioid misuse and addiction in the greater New Orleans region. Operation Restoration and Son of a Saint will partner with LA Voz de la Comunidad and Metropolitan Health Services who will train staff, mentors, and volunteers to identify and mitigate risky behaviors and signs of substance abuse. Finally, organizations will collect and analyze data to track the project’s target population, new and existing matches, and assess delivered services. Qualitative data will also be collected from program participants to ensure that the services offered meet the diverse array of perspectives and cultures of participants. Overall this program will give program participants the behavioral and prosocial skills that they need to reduce their risk of drug use through positive mentoring relationships, peer to peer interactions, and educational and enrichment programming.