Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $3,500,000)
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.
The U.S. Soccer Foundations evidence and sports-based group mentoring program, Soccer for Success, has been operational since 2009 and has a strong presence in 36 cities, engaging more than 30,000 youth. With FY 2016 funding, the U.S. Soccer Foundation will expand programming in eight states: Camden, New Jersey; Chicago, Illinois; Detroit, Michigan; Greater Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Greater Phoenix, Arizona; Kansas City, Missouri; Portland, Oregon; and Raleigh, North Carolina. These communities were carefully selected because the program partners operate in high-poverty communities or work with populations at significant risk for engaging in delinquent behavior. The U.S. Soccer Foundation will partner with community-based organizations, such as Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCAs, and Police Athletic Leagues, to engage youth from high-risk communities in formal mentoring relationships, teaching youth to work with their peers and mentors while building essential life skills. U.S. Soccer Foundations program is unique because soccer attracts youth from backgrounds at greater risk of participating in delinquent behaviors, who would not enter or stay in a traditional mentoring relationship. This grant will support the growth of the program and will also increase family engagement, deter delinquent behavior, reduce truancy, and improve attitudes toward school, while allowing for multiple program enhancements. The U.S. Soccer Foundation will use their strong evaluation system to ensure that they are achieving their program goals. The system collects data that meet reporting requirements and measure social and emotional changes in the participants relative to delinquency, attitudes toward school, and interactions with peers and elders. The program will continue to work with youth development experts in the field to ensure that the program meets Mentors Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring and the latest research. CA/NCF