Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2011, $280,964)
The Mentoring for Youth with Disabilities Initiative builds upon the foundation of evidence-based practices for effective mentoring and encourages communities to implement and enhance mentoring programs for youth with disabilities. These mentoring efforts will integrate best practices and proven principles into mentoring service models, including efforts to systematically recruit, train, and support mentors in their efforts to encourage individual youth to maximize personal strengths and to develop compensatory skills in specific areas of disability. This program authorized by the Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011, Pub. L. 112-110.
Be-A-Friend Program, Inc., Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erie County (BBBSEC) will expand its volunteer mentoring programs to serve 225 youth with disabilities over a three-year period. Children ages 4 to 17 with a diagnosed learning disability, emotional disability, behavioral problems, or who are academically one or more years behind their peers will be eligible for the Mentoring Youth with Disabilities Program (MYD Program). The agency is currently serving 175 children with these disabilities, and there are 117 children with one or more of these disabilities on the organization's current waiting list. Services will include recruitment and assessment of both children and mentors, mentor training, ongoing case manager support of the mentoring relationship, and linkage to other services, as needed, by the child's family. The goals of the program are to prevent or reduce delinquency and other negative behaviors in youth with disabilities; and to strengthen positive behaviors, personal strengths, and interpersonal relationships. Outcomes to be measured include the percentage of mentored children who: (1) are not suspended from school; (2) do not become involved in the criminal justice system; (3) do not have illegal absences from school; (4) improve their self-confidence; (5) improve relationships with family members and peers; and (6) improve their attitude toward school.