Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $500,000)
The Mentoring for Youth: Underserved Populations Program provides funding to support the implementation and delivery of one-to-one, group, and peer mentoring services for underserved populations, including youth with disabilities; youth in foster care; and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ) youth. This program furthers the Department's mission by supporting mentoring programs to reduce juvenile delinquency, drug abuse, truancy, and other problem and high-risk behaviors.
In this program, each professional mentor (Friend) works with 8-12 youth, providing 16 hours/month of service to each youth. Unlike volunteer mentoring, that is often time-limited and unpredictable, Friends of the Children (FOTC) utilizes a paid mentoring model which ensures mentors have the experience, training, and support to work with high needs populations.
Funds received through the OJJDP Mentoring Underserved Populations initiative will support mentoring services to 145 foster youth. FOTC-National will also develop trainings in partnership with Eckerd Foundation, an organization that administers child welfare and human services in fifteen states. Trainings will maximize the effectiveness of Friends by increasing their knowledge of how to navigate and advocate within public systems affecting vulnerable families. Trainings will be implemented at all sites, impacting 1,215 youth and will be documented and adapted for use by other organizations serving high risk youth.