Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2008, $499,764)
Alcorn County is a rural area located in the uppermost eastern corner of the Mississippi. Over 70 percent of the residents live in small communities, tiny incorporated areas, or along remote gravel country roads. The area is characterized by out-migration, poverty, and single-parent households. Nearly 3 quarters of youth living in single-headed households live in poverty and there are escalating problems of school discipline, drug/alcohol abuse and children unsupervised in after-school and summer hours.
Community Connections Mentoring Program is a partnership of the Alcorn School District, Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast MS at its Corinth and Booneville sites, Northeast MS Community College, TimberHills Mental Health Center, and LINK, Inc (a non-profit dedicated to improved educational/cultural opportunities for public school children). The project will serve 175 of the area's disadvantaged and 'at-risk' 1st ' 9th grade students, providing early intervention and prevention services through long-term mentoring relationships to combat the risk factors children experience because of poverty and its companion conditions of stress and diminished life prospects. High-risk youth will be paired with adult and college/high school mentors who will be screened and trained to provide nurturing relationships that encourage youth to participate in academic/cultural enrichment and expose them to non-traditional careers. Encouraging parental involvement is also a major part of the program. Expected outcomes are improved academics, better school attendance, decrease in drug/alcohol use and violence, and confidence in skills achieved and relationships built. CA/NCF