Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $1,999,720)
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 FRIENDS FIRST project will provide the STARS Peer Mentoring Program to underserved youth in five states: Colorado, Alabama, Georgia, Michigan and Texas who are most at risk for becoming involved in the juvenile justice system. The goals of this project are to effectively utilize mentoring best practices to reduce the risk of juvenile delinquency in the targeted students by (1) empowering youth to make positive choices regarding alcohol, tobacco and drug use, violence, gang activity and high risk sexual activity and (2) fortifying youths protective factors through positive peer relationships and increased school engagement and future orientation. To accomplish these goals, the objectives over three years are as follows: Objective 1: To provide best practice peer mentoring services to 960 (320/year) underserved youth. Because of their participation in programming, at least 10% of these youth will demonstrate an increased understanding of the benefits of avoiding high risk behaviors, an increase in school engagement, and an increased sense of positive peer relationships. Objective 2: To screen, match, train and support 240 (80 /year) peer mentors through a minimum of 91 hours of annual training, including ongoing and regular support. After formal trainings 90% of mentors will score 90% or better on a measure of knowledge of mentoring best practices and/or the training topic. Objective 3: To improve relationships between youth and law enforcement in Denver by providing at least 180 youth with the Denver Office of the Independent Monitors Bridging the Gap program that educates youth on their rights and responsibilities when in contact with law enforcement, and educating officers on key aspects of adolescent development and de-escalation techniques when in contact with youth. Objective 4: To promote family engagement by providing two Family and Community Training Events for all parents each year. CA/NCF