Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $1,100,000)
The National Urban League (NUL), with a network of 91 affiliates in 36 states and the District of Columbia believes that educational opportunity is the most effective means and avenue for empowerment in communities of color and in historically underserved communities. Youth success to, through, and after high school is paramount to their design. NUL proposes to implement the next iteration of Project Ready Mentor (the Project), a multistate group mentoring program (Competition ID: OJJDP-2023-171717 Multistate Mentoring Category 3) in 12 Urban League affiliate communities across 11 states. The proposed Project will operate in: Cleveland, OH; Springfield, IL; Charlotte, NC; New Orleans, LA; Phoenix, AZ; Milwaukee, WI; Houston, TX; Los Angeles, CA; Wilmington, DE; Cincinnati, OH; Baltimore, MD; and Oklahoma City, OK. The 12 City Project will help disconnected, vulnerable, court-involved, at-risk /at-promise urban youth (predominately African American and Latino(a) youth 11-17 years of age develop social and emotional skills, aptitudes, and attitudes; foster anti-bullying and social connectedness; move from grade to grade on time, and graduate high school ready for college or work without the need for remediation by expanding the supply of well-trained mentors (using the Elements of Effective Mentoring Standards and Enhancements), raising awareness of the power of mentoring, effective family engagement and inclusion, fostering youth assets and well-being and creating, deepening, and sustaining supportive mentor and mentee relationships directed towards reducing risky behavior and promoting social, emotional, and academic development.
The Project Ready: Mentor Project requires service to a minimum of 45 youth per affiliate per year in each of 12 cities, for a minimum total of 1,620 youth served over the 3-year grant period. Project Ready: Mentor provides 182 hours of opportunities, support, and services, which include and extend those of the participants' local anchor program via mentoring. Project Ready: Mentor meets the Elements of Effective Practice Elements standard and furthermore uses both a relational approach, which aims to develop a sense of efficacy and a close, trusting emotional connection between the mentor and mentee via activities as well as an instrumental approach that primarily focuses on encouraging the mentee to grow and learn through goal-oriented activities found in the anchor positive youth development and college/career readiness program activities of Project Ready (including going on college visits together, working on projects such as building a robot, or developing a small business /entrepreneur plan together). No funds will be used to conduct research.