Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2004, $306,738)
The mission of the YMCA of Tuscaloosa County (the YMCA) is to build strong kids, strong families, and strong communities. The purpose of this project is to equip at-risk teens with life-long skills to help them identify their unique mission (purpose in life), talents, calling, and personality type, as well as challenging them to demonstrate those skills in mentored community service projects. By engaging at-risk youth to identify their unique set of skills and practice them in facilitated "peer to peer" and mentoring settings, the YMCA will reduce the numbers of at-risk students who feel they have no sense of purpose, rewarding challenges, or fulfilling future, and thus reduce high risk behaviors among juveniles. Likewise, focused identification of their career skills sets will increase opportunities for youth employment, generate enthusiasm for fulfillment of high school graduation, and will delineate paths for career opportunities that, but for this program, may have seemed to the teens as impractical and out of reach. The YMCA will target a minimum of 500 at-risk youths, ages 13-17, to participate in this program that will help them design an enhanced personal landscape for creating change by using the Path program. YMCA will track the fundamental indicators of juvenile delinquency, school deportment, academic performance, and other high-risk behaviors such as substance abuse. The YMCA and its cooperating mentors will utilize assistance from the local university or a private firm to create and utilize data collection forms for a pre/post assessment format. Surveys will be used to calculate percentages of student success on the Path process as well as data from mentors and the community liaison. The YMCA will report progress to OJJDP in their Categorical Assistance Progress Reports. NCA/NCF.