Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2012, $1,538,000)
This program supports the enhancement or expansion of initiatives that will help communities develop or improve mentoring programs for at-risk or 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 that the community identifies. This program is authorized by the Department of Justice Appropriations Act, 2012; Pub. L. 112-55, 125 Stat. 552, 617.
The Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation (CRSF) uses the vehicle of team sports, specifically baseball, as a common activity to connect at-risk youth ages 9-14 with mentors. Through the Badges for Baseball group mentoring program, CRSF establishes partnerships with community based organizations (CBOs) that serve at-risk youth and law enforcement agencies to implement Badges for Baseball. These partnerships provide one-of-a-kind experiences to youth while also building relationships with CRSF trained mentors. Using the ball field as a classroom, and law enforcement volunteers as mentors, youth learn the skills necessary to avoid negative peer groups, engage in structured out-of-school activities, stay in school and stay away from harmful substances. In addition, youth will participate in the Healthy Choices, Healthy Children (HCHC) character education curriculum which focuses on key life skills, as relayed by their mentors.
FY 2012 Multi-State Mentoring funds will enable CRSF to both establish new programs and ensure programs continue in an estimated 35 communities in nine states, including Illinois, New Jersey, North Carolina, Mississippi, Virginia, Washington, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Maryland. This initiative will link 4,000 youth with at least 400 trained mentors, and enable CRSF to expand its ongoing training and technical assistance for mentors and CBOs.