Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $2,500,000)
The Mentoring Opportunities for Youth Initiative, Category 2 (Multi-State Mentoring Program) provides funding to support mentoring organizations in their efforts to strengthen and/or expand their existing mentoring activities within local chapters or sub-awardees (in at least 5 states but fewer than 45 states) to reduce juvenile delinquency, drug abuse, truancy, and other problem and high-risk behaviors. FY 2016 funding will address the factors that can lead to or serve as a catalyst for delinquency or other problem behaviors in underserved youth, including youth in high-risk environments. Programs are encouraged to target their mentoring services to American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) youth; children of parents on active military duty; children of incarcerated parents; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth; youth with disabilities; and youth in rural communities.
Sea Research Foundation, Inc. (SRF) a recognized and respected leader in providing mentoring and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) enrichment programs as part of larger delinquency-prevention initiatives will be expanding and enhancing its innovative group mentoring program, STEM Mentoring. The goal of STEM Mentoring is to positively impact the social development and academic achievement of at-risk and high-risk youth ages 6 to 9. By providing these youth with high-quality, STEM-based group mentoring experiences, STEM Mentoring encourages them to reduce high-risk behaviors, improve academic success indicators, and increase their knowledge of and interest in STEM careers. STEM Mentoring achieves this by connecting youth with mentors (4:1 mentee-to-mentor ratio) to engage in weekly multimedia STEM activities. SRF proposes to work with some continuation sites of the FY 2015 STEM Mentoring Initiative and some new expansion sites in 36 states and territories. Over the 2-year implementation period, sites will target youth who (1) live in communities with high community risk factors, including poverty, unemployment, violent crime, and drug/gang involvement; (2) attend schools that have a high percentage of students eligible for free and reduced-price meals and high rates of absenteeism; (3) are American Indian or Alaska Native; (4) have one or more parents in the military; and/or (5) live in rural communities.
To achieve the project goal and objectives, SRF will (1) provide sites with training on the benchmarks from the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring, training on best practices for implementing STEM activities in a group mentoring setting, customized guidance on building community partnerships and engaging families, and ongoing technical assistance; (2) provide sites with six high-quality, structured STEM Mentoring curriculum modules, and provide associated STEM content training and technical assistance; and (3) measure the project impact. Pre- and post-surveys for mentees and mentors and surveys for program coordinators will assess project progress. On a quarterly basis, SRF will use its existing online reporting system to collect performance measures data on social and academic improvement, engagement in juvenile delinquency, and the mentor-mentee relationship. SRF intends to use collected information only to meet OJJDP performance measures requirements and to generate internal improvements to the program; data collection will not constitute research for generalizable knowledge. CA/NCF