Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $24,500,000)
The Mentoring Opportunities for Youth Initiative, Category 1 (National Mentoring Program) provides funding to support national mentoring organizations (those with local chapters or sub-awardees in at least 45 states) in their efforts to strengthen and/or expand their existing mentoring activities within local chapters or sub-awardees in at least 38 states to reduce juvenile delinquency, drug abuse (specifically opioid abuse), truancy, and other problem and high-risk behaviors. FY 2018 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 required to target American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) youth, and are also highly encouraged to target their mentoring services to children of parents on active military duty; children of incarcerated parents; youth with disabilities; youth impacted by opioids; and youth in rural communities. This program is authorized and funded pursuant to Pub. L. No. 115-141, 132 Stat. 348, 423.
Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) is uniquely positioned to drive positive outcomes for young people in diverse communities throughout the country. MBGC is a multicomponent mentoring program that will leverage BGCAs nationwide network to link at-risk and high-risk youth with caring mentors, positive youth development, and skill-building prevention programs. In FY 2018, MBGC will integrate evidence-informed opioid and substance abuse prevention strategies into mentoring activities, mentoring practices, and family engagement. The target population is 53,895 youth ages 617 experiencing risk factors in low-income communities in all 50 states. This population includes 4,625 AI/AN youth living on and off reservations. Risk factors include poverty, low-performing schools, community violence, and gang activities. All targeted youth face individual and/or environmental risk factors that put them at risk for opioid abuse. AI/AN youth experience especially high levels of risk. Youth who experience one or more risk factors are more likely to become involved in delinquency, substance abuse, and other problem behaviors.
Project goals are to promote positive outcomes and reduce risk factors for four target groups: youth at risk (at-risk and high-risk youth), AI/AN youth, military-connected youth, and youth identified as at high risk for participation in gangs/delinquency. Project objectives include providing each youth with a mentor and engaging them in two prevention programs, including one evidence-based prevention program. Project activities include one-on-one mentoring, group mentoring, and peer mentoring, delivered in the youth development environment of a Boys & Girls Club; curriculum-based prevention activities that build skills and character; and new opioid and substance abuse prevention activities and practices. Mentors and mentees will be matched based on mutual interests, as well as on mentees individual needs and risk factors. Group matching events for law enforcement mentoring will be implemented, enabling officers, youth, and their family members to meet and engage with each other. Feedback from these events will be used to inform matches. Mentees and mentors will each commit to meet at least once a week for a minimum of one year, and mentees will be held accountable to meeting their mentoring and personal goals.
Anticipated youth outcomes include increases in social competence, school attendance, GPA, and positive family relationships; decreases in antisocial behavior and substance abuse (including opioid use); and increased resistance to involvement in gangs and delinquency. Progress will be measured using tracking reports, staff observations, and pre/post surveys.