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Youth Mentoring Project at Helping Services for Youth & Families

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $650,000)

Helping Services for Youth & Families, a non-profit organization based in Northeast Iowa, will serve 160 rural youth who are impacted by opioids and drug addiction residing in Allamakee, Clayton, Fayette, Howard, and Winneshiek Counties. The five-county service area spans 3,195 square miles where Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin meet.  These five counties are deemed rural based on the Rural Health Grants Eligibility Analyzer (https://data.hrsa.gov/tools/rural-health).  These rural counties with a total population of 79,788 with 17,553 youth under the age of 18 suffer from excessive alcohol and drug use among youth and adults.

Youth and families currently served by Helping Services share with Mentoring Coordinators the impact domestic violence, child abuse, sexual abuse, substance abuse, parent incarceration, and mental health issues have had on their families. Mentors make a difference in youth’s lives by being positive role models and skilled listeners.  Helping Services' Youth Mentoring has operated and maintained programming since 1998.

During the 36-month project, Helping Services’ Youth Mentoring aims to expand its capacity from eight to thirteen programs. Enhanced, innovative services during the project period will reduce youth substance use by increasing school-based mentoring programs, offering new group mentoring opportunities, conducting bi-annual surveys, asking Pondering Questions, creating a menu of support services, and expanding mentoring services to two additional neighboring counties. The menu of support services will include partnerships with local substance abuse treatment agencies, juvenile court services, mental health providers, counseling services, and child health specialty clinics.

The deliverables created from this project include Policies/Procedures/Protocols, Survey or Other Data Collection Instrumentation, Programmatic Reports, Data Sets, Action Plans, Resource Guides, Strategic Plans, and Outreach materials, posters, flyers, brochures.

The project will hire two full-time and one part-time Youth Mentoring Coordinator to carry out these deliverables.  Administrative support for the project includes supervision from the Director of Prevention Services and additional administrative support from the Executive Director, Fiscal Manager, and other administrative staff members.  The entire team will ensure the project’s success during the 36-month project period.    

Mentors and mentees will be recruited, screened, matched, trained, monitored, and prepared for closure adhering to the Elements of Effective Practice. All progress within the scope of work will be tracked to determine success toward outcomes. Mentored youth who are impacted by opioids and substance use disorders residing in Allamakee, Clayton, Fayette, Howard, and Winneshiek Counties will have a powerful support system to impact their health and well-being.

Date Created: September 8, 2023