Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $2,000,000)
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 Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation (CRSF) uses team sports, like baseball and softball, to connect at-risk youth with mentors as part of a small group (four-to-one) mentoring program. The target population is youth, ages 9-14, in communities with multiple risk factors (poverty, drugs, gangs, crime, etc.) for juvenile delinquency and other obstacles to successfully transitioning to adulthood. Strained relationships between law enforcement and community members undermine efforts to build safer communities. The group mentoring program, Badges for Baseball, pairs target population youth with mentors-particularly from law enforcement, public safety, and the military to participate in team sports and other activities on a weekly basis. Group mentoring provides at-risk youth with protective factors: supportive relationships, positive peer groups, and opportunities to build skills and confidence. By engaging law enforcement/public safety officers as mentors, Badges for Baseball creates a bridge for officers and community members to build relationships. FY16 funding will enable CRSF to grow the program, broaden its reach within communities, and deepen the impact on mentors and mentees using three key elements. First, CRSF will provide structured mentoring activities for mentors and youth. One-day and multi-day events providing educational experiences (college days) and training in mentoring leadership (camps) will be implemented with all Badges for Baseball programs. Second, CRSF will provide enhanced mentor training (in-person and web-based) on research-aligned practices. Lastly, CRSF will create more community-wide mentoring partnerships around Badges for Baseball. CRSF builds local, state, and national partnerships to ensure program success. CA/NCF