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 U. S. Dream Academy (Dream), established in 1998, is one of the countrys oldest school-based mentoring organizations serving children of incarcerated parents and those in high-risk environments. Dream uses evidence-based mentoring practices informed by the Elements of Effective Practice and Developmental Relationship Framework to connect young people living with multiple risk factors to high-quality, structured mentoring relationships, and is currently operating in six states and Washington, DC. Under FY 2016 funding, Dream proposes four new enhancement activities to support their mentoring program that reflect long-term goals of strengthening the skill-building, character-building and dream-building pillars of their program: 1) Increase access to mentoring for high-risk youth-expanding their reach to include mentor programming for 2,329 high school, middle school and elementary school students over three years; 2) Enhance mentor recruitment by launching a Dream Ambassador program campaign in seven cities increasing the number of mentors by 10% each year to reach a cumulative 3-year total of 1,327; 3) Create and implement two new mentor training modules, increasing mentor awareness of developmental relationship activities and opportunities to support the development of positive racial and cultural identity; and 4) Enhance parent engagement by conducting parent workshops; and documenting improvements in connectedness between parents and mentors. Dream will partner with the Search Institute, which has developed an evidence-based framework on Developmental Relationships, and the American Institute of Research (AIR), a research and evaluation partner with expertise conducting evaluations on national youth mentoring and delinquency prevention. AIR is our partner in developing tools for internal assessment and to maintain compliance with OJJDP required performance measures; Dream will track and collect data under their existing protocols, and will not be conducting research. CA/NCF