Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2010, $298,831)
The SS/HS Initiative is a joint effort by the U.S. Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Justice to support schools and communities in creating safer and healthier learning environments. This solicitation invites current Safe Schools/Healthy Student grantees to develop proposals that will increase the capacity of their SS/HS collaborations to develop and implement community-based mentoring programs or to expand and enhance existing mentoring programs and strategies. This program advances the provision of integrated resources for prevention and early intervention services for children and youth by supporting effective evidence-based mentoring services to young people who are underserved. The intent of this program is to demonstrate new mentoring efforts or to expand existing mentoring efforts that work in concert with a grantee's SS/HS comprehensive plan.
Kershaw County's SSHS will implement mentoring programs for approximately 150 students/year. Targeted students are in grades 5-8 with multiple risk factors, or are those involved with the Department of Juvenile Justice. Students will be paired with a mentor for at least one meeting per week, extending over multiple school years. Mentors will be screened through a complete background check and receive extensive training on effective mentoring strategies. Family members will be an integral part of the support network and bilingual service delivery will be provided. United Way of Kershaw County will administer the mentoring program. A project coordinator will be hired and will guarantee the integration of mentoring activities with existing SSHS interventions. The grant will provide community liaisons. They will recruit mentors, match mentors/students, and provide community outreach. Short-term goals of the program are to increase school attendance, reduce school discipline referrals and bullying behaviors, improve academic performance, and heighten their sense of self-worth. Long-term goals include successful high school graduation; a reduction in school discipline problems; reduction in school truancy incidents; reduction in DJJ recidivism; and a reduction in the number of adolescents needing mental health and alcohol, tobacco and other drug counseling.