Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $2,500,000)
The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) seeks to build the capacity of local park and recreation (P&R) agencies in Appalachia, New England, and select target states with high overdose mortality rates to develop, implement, and deliver evidence-based mentoring programs that prevent, reduce, and address opioid and other drug misuse among youth aged 17 years or younger. NRPA will expand the service network for youth affected by opioids and other drug misuse in regions with high rates of opioid and other drug mortality by leveraging the essential role of P&R agencies as trusted community institutions that promote positive health and youth development outcomes to build and expand evidence-based mentoring programs and implement substance misuse prevention strategies. In addition, NRPA will center and advance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in youth mentoring programs by targeting racially diverse and historically marginalized communities while increasing P&R professionals’, mentoring and program staffs’, and mentors’ ability to apply the core competencies in DEI in their mentoring programs. Specifically, NRPA will provide funding and capacity building assistance (CBA) to 10 local P&R agencies, including rural communities, to utilize NRPA’s Youth Mentoring Framework to develop and expand evidence-based mentorship programs that center youth developmental assets. Through NRPA’s strategic request for proposal process, NRPA will engage a diverse cohort of local P&R agencies, including rural agencies, throughout these regions that are responding to different racial and ethnic populations affected by opioid and drug misuse, including Black, Hispanic, American Indian/Alaskan Native, and other people of color, LGBTQ+ people, low-income communities, and other historically disenfranchised populations. P&R agencies will establish one-on-one and group mentoring opportunities and implement family engagement activities to improve social, emotional, academic, and behavioral outcomes to reduce risk of opioid and other drug misuse. Each subgrantee will serve an average of 100 youth, including 25 through one-on-one mentoring and 75 through group mentoring. A total of 1,000 youth will be served through this project, including 250 one-on-one and 750 group. NRPA will recruit and train a minimum of 325 mentors.