Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2011, $2,500,000)
The Multi-State Mentoring Program was established to support 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 by the Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011, Pub. L. 112-110.
This project will target 10 communities: Atlanta, GA; Columbia, SC; Oklahoma City, OK; Newark, NJ; Chicago, IL; Dallas, TX; Elizabeth, NJ; Greenville, SC; Knoxville, TN; and Arlington, VA. The programs at these sites will focus on all three enhancements noted in the FY 2011 solicitation and will be built upon three evidenced-based programs that are already in place -- the Urban Youth Empowerment Program (UYEP), Project Ready, and Youth Development Framework and Curriculum (YDFC). These programs support the core elements of the Project Ready National Mentoring Program: work readiness, academic achievement, and service-learning. At the 10 affiliates front doors, youth will be assigned to a Counselor-Advocate. A strong Counselor-Advocate is the linchpin of the Project Ready National Mentor Project. Counselor-Advocates at each participating affiliate will serve as the point of intake and be responsible for assessing youth and mentor assets and compatibility through interviews, observations and a review of relevant supporting documents. The implementation plan focuses on work readiness activities, mentor-relationship building, and wrap-around services that include parental engagement, financial literacy and entrepreneurship. Each community site will establish an advisory council, which is comprised of parents, representatives from juvenile and criminal justice agencies, school personnel, a range of local youth-serving institutions, business leaders, representatives from higher education and key physical/mental health agencies. Moreover, all the affiliates will use a multi-layered mentoring approach for each child, (group, peer, and individual one-on-one mentoring) and the program already has a strong evaluation component in place for the new activity.