Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $3,000,000)
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 Ready to Achieve Mentoring Program (RAMP) will enhance the delivery of high-tech, career-focused mentoring to youth with disabilities age 17 and younger who are at risk of court involvement by formalizing all six core standards of mentoring practice, strengthening mentor training, increasing monitoring and support of the mentor-mentee relationship, and promoting family engagement. RAMP will work with existing sites to identify effective strategies across the varied sites and create standards of practice for all 14 sites located in 12 states (CA, CO, FL, GA, MD, MI, MN, NJ, NM, NY, TX, and VT). These sites represent rural and urban communities with high poverty, low income, high disability, low graduation, or high unemployment rates. All sites will enroll youth with physical, mental health, and developmental disabilities. Three sites will focus on specific populations: youth with autism and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, and youth in foster care. RAMP uses one-on-one mentor meetings to develop individualized plans, peer-supported goal-setting sessions, and weekly career-focused group meetings. RAMP sites will formalize the strong recruitment, screening, and matching practices developed over the past 7 years. Recently, sites focused on expanded training and roles for mentors. Sites will develop ongoing training opportunities to build mentor capacity. Sites also developed structured activities to strengthen the mentor-mentee relationship. Sites will continue these activities and build in relationship quality assessments. As family engagement is so crucial to youth success, sites also intentionally strengthened connections to families and plan to expand these family engagement efforts during this enhancement initiative. RAMP will increase the number of youth with disabilities who are matched with trained mentors to help them remain in school, avoid arrest, and develop transition plans for work and postsecondary education. Short-term and intermediate outcomes will be documented by the number of mentors recruited, trained, and matched; number of youth with disabilities recruited, matched, and completing career exploration activities and interest assessments; number of individualized mentoring plans completed and individual goals met; number of assessments of and events for mentor-mentee relationships; and number of family members contacted and actively engaged with the youth. CA/NCF