Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2010, $2,353,583)
This solicitation invites eligible applicants to propose the enhancement or expansion of initiatives that will assist in the development and maturity of community programs to provide mentoring services to high-risk populations that are underserved due to location, shortage of mentors, special physical or mental challenges of the targeted population, or other analogous situations identified by the community in need of mentoring services. This program is authorized under the Department of Justice Appropriations Act, 2010 (Pub. L. 111-117).
FRIENDS FIRST proposes a multi-state peer group mentoring initiative (STARS Mentoring Program) in the states of Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, New Mexico, and Tennessee. The project will serve 450 at-risk high school freshmen each year mentored by older peers in high school and/or college during and outside school hours under the direction of a Program Coordinator. Mentors and mentees will meet at least 25 times each year. Activities include an evidence-based curriculum, guest speakers, cultural, recreational, and educational outings, a national conference and local retreat. Mentors will receive 36 hours of training through conferences and will meet twice per month with the Program Coordinator. FRIENDS FIRST will provide coordination of all mentor trainings and year-round technical assistance to Program Coordinators. Goals and Objectives for participating youth include: reduce the likelihood (incidence) of juvenile delinquency; reduce the likelihood of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug (ATOD) use, and sexual activity; reduce truancy & high school drop-out rates; increase academic scores; increase the intentions to avoid risk behaviors such as ATOD, school violence and sexual activity; and increase developmental assets. Progress towards goals will be measured by an independent evaluator through pre, post, and 6, 12, and 24 month follow-up surveys.