Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2007, $630,000)
The Harrisburg Institute of Messiah College is an urban community development component of the School of Education and Social Sciences at Messiah College. Its work focuses on increasing community capacity for addressing pressing social issues in the City of Harrisburg and the Capital Region of Pennsylvania. The project focuses on research-based mentoring, support for evaluation of after-school initiatives in the Harrisburg School District, professional development for urban public school educators, and consulting and evaluation efforts for the Weed and Seed Initiative in the South Allison Hill neighborhood of Harrisburg. The Harrisburg Institute seeks funding to further support community-based organizations willing to bring their interests and passions to the task of mentoring academically at-risk youth in the City of Harrisburg. This project does not seek to start from scratch, but to further develop strategies based on lessons learned from the project previous program. The Harrisburg Institute will enhance and expand the 'Interest-based Mentoring Accelerator,' program strategic mentoring programming, through the gateway of targeted community organizations and their shared interests, for the substantial healing of broken youth, and positive impact on families, and the City that they call home ' Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The goal of this project is to create a model with the focus on quickly and effectively increasing the organizational capacity of non-mentoring community organizations so that they can effectively engage academically at-risk youth with their unique organizational passions and interests. This would lead to increased school attendance, academic achievement, and high school graduation rates, as well as increased program capacity for the community organization. A consultation/conference will be held at the conclusion of the grant period to help disseminate lessons learned and to ignite similar work in other settings with academically at-risk youth.