Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2017, $1,500,000)
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 2017 funding will address the factors that can lead to or serve as a catalyst for delinquency or other problem behaviors in youth.
Girls Inc. will expand and enhance the Bold Futures Mentoring Program, a multi-state program focused on empowering girls and young women to avoid violence, victimization, and sexual assault. Knowing that violence against, victimization of, and assault on girls and young women are gateway traumas that lead to victims' deep involvement in the juvenile justice system, this multi-state mentoring program will be implemented in 15 states and target high-need, at-risk communities, with the goal of creating a solid foundation for a dramatic, nationwide response to strengthen juvenile justice prevention in the Girls Inc. network.
Over a three-year period, at least 2,750 girls at 25 Girls Inc. affiliates will be involved in weekly group mentoring and ancillary support activities. Current trauma-informed program models (particularly Girls Inc. Project BOLD, a violence-prevention program) will be enhanced to incorporate high-risk girls, ages 9 to 14, from low-income neighborhoods and with other personal and community-based risk factors. Additional enhancements include providing consistent, in-depth, and measurably effective group mentoring experiences designed to develop significantly better coping skills for girls, reduce participant risks, minimize entry/re-entry into the juvenile justice system, and increase family engagement.
Goals for the project include: 1) improve participants academic performance and school attendance and increase girls competencies and skills to avoid or successfully navigate situations and confrontations with the potential for violence, victimization, and/or sexual assault; 2) teach decision-making skills needed to avoid or reduce involvement in delinquent behaviors (e.g., disruptive behaviors at school and participation in fighting, violence, substance abuse, truancy, or other juvenile offenses); and 3) further improve training and program practice implementation around the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring to strengthen Girls Inc. group mentoring relationships and achieve positive youth outcomes.
Specific measurable outcomes include: 1) at least 95% of program participants will not offend (i.e., new offense) or re-offend during the program period; 2) At least 90% of girls successfully completing Bold Futures will avoid or reduce their involvement in delinquent behaviors, including disruptive behaviors at school, the use of violence, and substance abuse; 3) at least 75% of girls successfully completing Bold Futures will report increasing or maintaining at a high level the social competencies needed to avoid or successfully cope with violence, victimization, and sexual assault; and 4) at least 80% of girls successfully completing Bold Futures will improve, or maintain at an average level or above, their English and math grades, and maintain satisfactory school attendance or increase attendance.