Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2017, $1,000,000)
The Mentoring Opportunities for Youth Initiative, Category 3 (Collaborative Mentoring Program) provides funding to support organizations that form a collaborative of at least three and as many as five mentoring organizations in their efforts to strengthen and/or expand their existing mentoring programs 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.
MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, Up2Us Sports, Sheriffs Youth Foundation of Los Angeles County, LAPD Hollywood Police Activities League, and the Hollenbeck Police Activities League propose the first citywide mentoring intervention that will aim to enhance the ability of law enforcement-led youth centers to deter criminal activity through Sports-Based Youth Development (SBYD). SBYD is a methodology that translates the best practices of traditional mentoring to a sports setting, thereby enabling police officers and other volunteers to use athletics as a means of attracting and keeping at-risk youth in long-term mentoring relationships. The goals of this project, titled the Los Angeles SBYD Initiative (LA-SBYD), are to: 1) reduce violence, drug abuse, delinquency, and other negative social behaviors in 11 neighborhoods in Los Angeles County that experience high rates of juvenile incarceration; 2) develop a collaborative partnership by which the Sheriffs Youth Foundation of Los Angeles County, LAPD Hollywood Police Activities League, and the Hollenbeck Police Activities League partner with subject matter experts, Up2Us Sports, and MENTOR to develop and execute a high-quality SBYD mentoring model; 3) contribute to the field of mentoring and law enforcement by evaluating the impact of a high-quality SBYD model that engages high-risk youth in trusting mentoring relationships with police offices, sheriffs, and other adult volunteers. Mentoring activities will be provided to 1,500 at-risk and high-risk youth ages 6-17 in 11 neighborhoods in Los Angeles County: Boyle Heights, Century (2 sites), Compton, East Hollywood, East Los Angeles, Huntington Park, MacArthur Park, Norwalk, Santa Clarita, South Los Angeles (Athens), and Westlake. LA-SBYD will accomplish this goal by training 150 police officers and adult mentors to conduct SBYD mentoring activities for a minimum of 3 hours per week for at least 10 months. Additionally, the program will engage 300 parents, other caregivers, and community volunteers in volunteer roles that increase their awareness and participation in the mentoring program. Project coordinators will be hired to implement a consistent SBYD program design across these multiple sites and to evaluate the impact of these programs on high-risk youth. Police officers and sheriffs, who oversee the centers, will receive training and support to employ best practices in mentor/mentee recruitment, screening, training, matching, support, and closure. Youth who will be served by this grant face multiple risk factors for engagement in delinquent behavior, especially high rates of poverty, exposure to violence and gang activity, substance use, and low academic performance. By engaging these youth at centers that implement best practices in SBYD, this project will seek to impact youths ability to make more positive decisions that lead to reduced engagement in criminal activity and other negative social behaviors.