Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $650,000)
The 2021 Washington State Healthy Youth Survey indicates that Yakima County youth use alcohol and marijuana at higher rates than statewide counterparts (21% v. 18%) constituting a 61.5% increase over a three-year period. We can expect that, without preventative actions such as mentoring, substance use rates will rise further. Safe Yakima Valley’s Youth Mentoring Program will mitigate the harmful impact of individual and family substance misuse. The goal of the mentoring program is to engage 300 youth aged 10 to 17 receiving treatment for any substance use disorder (SUD) or are the children of parents in an SUD treatment program in a mentoring experience. Mentoring consists of 39 match contact hours, 10 hours of drug-prevention training using Keepin’ it REAL curriculum, and 18 hours of family engagement activities over a 12-month program period. The project includes mentoring program modifications incorporating best practices defined in the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring (4th Edition) to better equip the program to expand and match 300 new youth with adult mentors.
The target population for the Safe Yakima Youth Mentoring Program are youth between the ages of 10 to 17 years at the time of entry and who meet one or more of the following criteria: 1) Enrolled in or on the waitlist for a drug treatment program, 2) Utilized the Yakima County Needle Exchange Service, 3) Children of parents who are enrolled in or on the waitlist for a drug treatment program, 4) Children of parents who utilized the Yakima County Needle Exchange service, and 5) Youth determined to be at an elevated risk for substance misuse based on results of either the Washington Assessment of Risk and Needs Survey (WARNS), the Adverse Childhood Experiences questionnaire (ACEs), or the Washington State HYS.
Six program objectives will be tracked: 1) Expand and enhance Safe Yakima Youth Mentoring Program with Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring, 2) Develop 300 positive adult role models with a high degree of mentor competency derived through successful completion of mentor training, 3) Provide substance misuse awareness training to 300 adult mentors, 4) Initiate direct one-on-one mentoring for 300 target youth for a minimum of 39 contact hours over a 12-month minimum match period, 5) Provide 10 hours of Keepin’ it REAL drug-prevention training to 300 target youth, and 6) Provide 18, two-hour mentee family engagement events. No portion of the $650,000 award will be used to conduct research.