Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $1,995,833)
The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) seeks to build the capacity of park and recreation (P&R) agencies to develop, implement, and deliver evidence-based mentoring programs that increase youth academic performance and prevent, reduce, and address juvenile delinquency and other problem behaviors among at-risk youth in under-resourced communities through out-of-school time (OST) programs in local P&R.
NRPA will build upon the success of our Mentoring in Parks and Rec Initiative, currently operating in 10 states, to expand youth mentoring services into a minimum of 10 new states while integrating two core focus areas: 1) OST Programming: the proposed approach leverages the power of P&R as safe OST settings for youth to participate in extracurricular activities that foster positive youth development; and 2) Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI): intentionally advancing DEI by targeting racially diverse and historically marginalized communities while increasing the ability of P&R professionals, mentoring/program staff, and mentors to apply DEI core competencies in mentorship programs.
NRPA will provide funding and capacity building assistance to 15 local P&R agencies to leverage NRPA’s Youth Mentoring Framework to develop and expand evidence-based OST mentorship programs that center youth developmental assets. Through NRPA’s request for proposal process, NRPA will engage a diverse cohort of P&R agencies to provide mentoring services to youth disproportionately at risk or high risk for juvenile delinquency, victimization, and juvenile justice system involvement, and/or who have less access to quality mentoring services, specifically Black, Hispanic, American Indian and Alaska Native youth; LGBTQ+ youth; and youth from low-income communities.
P&R agencies will establish one-on-one and group mentoring opportunities, plus implement family engagement activities to improve social, emotional, academic, and behavioral outcomes and reduce risk factors for juvenile delinquency. Each grantee will serve an average of 350 youth, including 50 youth through one-on-one mentoring and 300 through group mentoring, for a total of 5,250 youth served through this project. NRPA will recruit and train 1,200 adult mentors (including OST teachers/counselors/coaches) to provide evidence-based mentoring services. NRPA will support grantees’ implementation of family engagement activities to reach at least 4,500 family members.
The cohort of P&R subgrantees will participate in NRPA’s Equity in Practice Fellowship program to build core competencies in DEI for application into their mentorship programs. NRPA will create additional resources for applying DEI in mentoring programs, and for family engagement, and program resources will be disseminated to 1,500 P&R professionals nationwide to support expansion of mentoring programs in additional communities.