Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2010, $238,593)
While research indicates that quality mentoring is a promising delinquency prevention technique, certain program characteristics and elements are moderators of its effectiveness. This solicitation invites eligible applicants to propose evidence-based enhancements that are among these moderators of program effectiveness. The three strategies include: (1) involving the parents in activities or services, (2) providing structured activities and programs for the mentoring matches, and (3) developing and implementing on-going training and support for mentors. This initiative is authorized by the Department of Justice Appropriations Act, 2010, P.L. 111-117.
Through small group mentoring during experiential activities, the Bitterroot Venture program prevents juvenile delinquency, increases positive family relationships, decreases youth at-risk of substance use, and improves commitment to school, in youth aged 10-17 in Ravalli County, Montana. Bitterroot Venture is the longest running replication site of the SAMSHA listed best practice program, Project Venture. This unique and proven model uses small group mentoring with paid staff and volunteer peer mentors, a model that is gaining recognition as an effective alternative to one-on-one mentoring in rural low-income areas where those programs can be difficult to sustain. By involving families in Bitterroot Venture programming and providing training for staff to facilitate family involvement, comprehensive services will be provided that can highly impact at-risk youth. In classroom and Youth Court sponsored settings, mentors facilitate up to bi-weekly leadership and teamwork initiatives, skills' building, outdoor adventures and service-learning projects. At-risk youth are targeted for additional involvement in after-school, weekend and summer programming to further enhance the depth of the mentees' experiences. An Evaluation Consultant will be hired to provide evaluation. Partner agencies will collect data using juvenile delinquency and school information, and pre-and post-surveys administered to youth. CA/NCF