Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2009, $499,971)
OJJDP seeks applicants to establish mentoring programs that offer a mixture of core services and engage youth with activities that enable them to practice healthy behaviors within a positive pro-social peer group. The target population should be youth at risk of gang activity, delinquency, and youth violence. This program should develop and strengthen protective factors against gang involvement and other problem behaviors. It can be based in a school or community setting. Successful applicants will include organizations, local school districts, and communities dealing with demonstrated gang problems who are a part of a communitywide strategy to combat gang activity. This initiative is authorized under the Department of Justice Appropriations Act, 2009, Pub. L. 111-8.
The proposed project will create a multi-modal, collaborative, community-based Gang Prevention Youth Mentoring Program serving the City of Little Rock, Arkansas, guided by a broad-based task force representing schools, law enforcement, juvenile court, mental health systems, and various service agencies. The project will provide extensive training and ongoing support for 40 mentors by one of Arkansas' top gang and youth involvement experts, and will be carried out within the context of pro-social peer groups emphasizing community service projects, with the support of non-traditional, equine-assisted therapeutic approaches. A program model called GENESIS, utilizing evidence-based curriculum, will be implemented at Little Rock's alternative school setting, where as many as 70% of the youth are linked to gangs. The project will target youth from In-School Suspension programs and the alternative school re-entry program, as well as youth referred from the juvenile court system. The project will address a significant local need for mentors and community-based support systems for these hardest to reach youth. An intensive community awareness campaign will be launched to recruit mentors and to equip the public, the schools, and youth-serving organizations to more effectively reach and refer at-risk youth. L.O.V.E. will utilize data collection tools and protocols to track performance outcomes and the resulting model will be replicable in other communities. CA/NCF