Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2008, $955,315)
In collaboration with Continuing Legal Education Opportunities (CLEO) and America's Promise Alliance, the American Bar Association Division for Public Education (ABA), proposes to conduct a national mentoring project entitled, Championing Our Students through Mentoring, Support, and Collaboration (COS). The goal of COS is to strengthen and expand legal mentoring activities in high-needs areas serving at-risk adolescents nationwide. Specifically, COS proposes to work with at-risk students in high-needs regions throughout the United States, focusing on five partner sites: Chicago, Houston, the Mississippi Gulf Coast, New Orleans, and Washington, D.C.
Through COS, the ABA, CLEO, and America's Promise are proposing a mentoring program that includes proven strategies that work, and at the same time, adds strategies and components that reach beyond the typical mentoring programs. With the ABA/CLEO/America's Promise partnership, COS includes a unique law-related component to mentoring. COS will provide legal professionals as role models and mentors; integrate law-related education into programming; provide an insider's look into diverse legal careers (e.g., lawyers, judges, law enforcement, juvenile justice professionals, legal assistants); teach skills of analysis, debate, logic, and ethics; and investigate issues of law, society, and rights, all important and valuable lessons and also, lessons that appeal to youth. The mentoring work of the five COS partner sites will be further enhanced by the support and guidance of this national partnership. Championing Our Students will increase the quality of programs delivered to underserved populations, as well as increase the quantity of participants by providing greater access and opportunities to legal mentors and law-related programs.
The proposed COS project will: 1) conduct legal mentoring programs in the five partner sites; 2) establish a network of law-related mentoring experts at the five partner sites; 3) provide technical assistance for creating and enhancing the five sites' mentoring programs; 4) act as a clearinghouse for law-related mentoring and training resources, publications, and data; and 5) develop legal mentoring models for replication and dissemination. By project's end, COS will build a legal mentoring community with a unique law-related focus that will stand apart from other mentoring programs and will build upon the unique strengths that legal professionals bring to mentoring.
The project will be implemented in four phases: A) needs assessment and planning; B) training; C) programming; and D) data collection and follow-up. In addition, two products with multiple deliverables will be developed as a result of this project: 1) a COS website; and 2) a Legal Mentoring Toolkit