Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2008, $295,598)
Minnehaha County in South Dakota proposes to partner with Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota (LSS), a private, non-profit human services agency to implement a mentoring program serving students in 10 rural school districts in Minnehaha and Lincoln Counties in South Dakota. LSS has extensive experience in school-based mentoring, operating a successful program serving the urban Sioux Falls School District. South Dakota youth have a number of significant risk factors that exceed national averages, including an incarceration rate more than double the national average. To help counteract these risks, the partnership intends to establish school-based mentoring programs in rural school districts that lack consistent, quality mentoring services. Mentoring services will be provided to 115 students in Year 1, 200 students in Year 2, and 250 students in Year 3.
The goal of the project is to improve outcomes for at-risk children in grades K-12 who are struggling with behavior, social skills, or academics. Adult volunteers will be recruited, screened, trained, and matched with students with whom they will develop caring, one-to-one relationships. Participating schools may choose one of three options: 1) in-person mentoring, in which mentors spend time with their students each week at school, during the school day; 2) e-mentoring, in which mentors and students communicate weekly through structured, monitored e-mails, augmented by monthly group activities; or 3) both in-person and e-mentoring services. CA/NCF