Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $2,000,000)
The National Indian Youth Leadership Project (NIYLP) proposes providing group and peer mentoring services to at-risk, high-risk and underserved primarily American Indian (AI) and other youth in 16 sites across 10 states via Project Venture, a culturally responsive model recognized as evidence-based by the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (SAMHSA), the National Registry of Effective Programs and Practices (NREPP), and a promising model by OJJDP for the prevention alcohol and substance abuse and delinquent behaviors in American Indian youth. Project Venture mentoring will reach 4,520 mostly American Indian youth and recruit and train 1,419 mostly American Indian peer mentors. NIYLP will enhance Project Venture’s mentoring initiative by increasing: mental health support; nutritional guidance; monitoring and support to subawardee sites; mentor recruitment by targeting law enforcement/first responders; and opportunities for high school peer mentors to connect across all PV mentoring program sites. We also will increase family partnership through local solutions to local challenges. Subawardees in 9 states will implement the initiative.
Project Venture is a culturally responsive group and peer mentoring model developed over 40 years of work with high-risk, underserved American Indian youth. The program relies on American Indian traditional values to help youth develop positive self-concepts, effective social skills, a community service ethic, internal locus of control, resilience, healthy decision-making, and effective problem-solving skills. Project Venture utilizes a positive youth development approach that capitalizes on strengths rather than deficits. Project Venture has several program components: (1) adventure-based, outdoor experiential activities, (2) service learning, and (3) peer mentor leadership. Project Venture is a cascading model of mentoring that provides several layers of multigenerational support and multiple opportunities for parent/caretaker and family engagement.
The program goal is to reduce negative outcomes associated with juvenile delinquency and improve outcomes for at-risk, high-risk, or underserved American Indian and other youth, including increased life skills, social-emotional learning, academic performance, and cultural connection. We will measure progress toward our goal by adapting the Project Venture Implementation Score Card instrument to assess fidelity of subawardee programming, and a self-report survey that incorporates social-emotional indicators adapted from the Developmental Assets Profile to measure outcomes. The self-report survey also collects outcome data on substance use and suicide. NIYLP will not be conducting research.