Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $1,000,000)
Project Avary is a non-profit organization that provides mentoring services to children with incarcerated parents. Project Avary proposes to expand their Avary Way Mentoring Model: A Framework for Full-Circle Youth Leadership Development from their service area in San Francisco, Oakland and Richmond to a new jurisdiction that reaches communities on the outer edges of the San Francisco Bay Area, including the cities of Santa Rosa, Novato, Petaluma, Antioch, Brentwood, Concord, Martinez, Vallejo, Pittsburg, Vacaville, and Davis. Because of the rising housing costs, poorer families have been displaced to these communities, which lack the resources and support that they need. The purpose of this program is to provide multifaceted, evidence-based, and trauma-informed practices to support children of incarcerated parents with mentoring and the life and leadership skills needed to break generational cycles of incarceration. Project Avary intervenes early in the life of a child, between age 8-10, and makes a long-term, 10-year commitment serving children until the age of 18. After graduation, many youth remain involved as adult mentors and staff. Over 90% of Project Avary’s adult mentors are children of incarcerated parents and over 80% are program alumni. 100% of peer mentors are Project Avary teen participants called Junior Counselors.
Project Avary’s programs have a meaningful impact on the well-being of their participants by providing them with a sense of community and belonging, as well as resources for emotional healing and growth. The organization’s mentoring program helps to build healthy relationships and role models for the participants, while summer camp, retreats and outings provide a safe and supportive group mentoring environment for them to build friendships and develop leadership skills. Through these programs, Project Avary has seen substantive improvements in self-confidence and resilience, as well as a reduced sense of isolation. Additionally, 94% of Project Avary alumni have remained uninvolved with the criminal justice system.
Primary activities and expected outcomes include: 300 youth will receive mentoring services. Annually, youth will engage in a robust offering of group and peer mentoring activities including: adventure day outings, afterschool online support groups, retreats and summer camp. Youth will also receive weekly one-on-one mentoring. Throughout a youth's participation in Project Avary, caregivers will be supported with peer and group mentoring through the Family Unity Program, which includes support groups, Family Camp, the Summer BBQ, and Holiday Party. Three hundred fifty mentors will be recruited or maintained. There are no subrecipients.