Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $500,000)
Justice Innovation Inc. doing business as Center for Justice Innovation (Center) aims to improve outcomes for youth involved in the juvenile justice system through the Brownsville Mentorship, B[ME], program in Brownsville, Brooklyn. To achieve this goal, the Center will implement a holistic transformative mentoring model that staffs five credible messengers to 1) Increase access to mentoring services for youth involved in the juvenile justice system; 2) Increase the number of screened and well-trained mentors, with an emphasis on ensuring the mentors selected reflect the youth they serve; and 3) Develop and implement program design enhancements that align with research and evidence on effective mentoring approaches. B[ME] will incorporate an array of evidence-based mentoring approaches included in OJJDP’s Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring; such as strategies for recruitment, mentor screening, training, matching, and monitoring and support; and mentoring enhancements; such as being peer-based and peer led, utilizing restorative justice practices, and participation in interest-based skill development, motivational interviewing, and support system involvement. B[Me] aims to increase access to mentoring services for youth in the juvenile justice system to improve academic performance and reduce school drop-out rates, recidivism, substance use, and gang participation. B[ME] aims to empower youth to become successful, resilient, and disconnect from the juvenile justice system and is built on the strategies of transformative mentorship, healing-centered interventions, project-based learning, and community and civic engagement. The Center recognizes the importance of including family support in the mentoring process and will actively include them through their involvement in a working group, engagement in family nights, community events, soliciting feedback throughout the program, and group family sessions with the youth’s mentor.