Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $482,719)
The Mentoring Opportunities for Youth Initiative, Category 3 (Mentoring Programs for Youth Involved in the Juvenile Justice System) provides funding to support youth mentoring organizations that have a demonstrated partnership with a juvenile justice agency. The focus is to provide mentoring services to those youth screened as being low risk to public safety by a juvenile justice agency as part of an overall diversion approach with a goal of rehabilitation and accountability. This program is authorized and funded pursuant to Pub. L. No. 115-141, 132 Stat. 348, 423.
Family Services of the Merrimack Valley proposes to implement the Amigos Mentoring program to address the problem of gang involvement among youth in the City of Lawrence, MA. Research shows that gangs tend to be present in socially disadvantaged communities that are disproportionately affected by poverty, fractured households (single-parent households), and low educational attainment, coupled with housing instability. Those conditions plague the city of Lawrence and have resulted in a burgeoning problem of youth involvement in local street and established national gangs. The proposed Amigos Mentoring program will target youth ages 1115 who are involved with the Lawrence juvenile court as an adjudicated delinquent or child requiring assistance. Youth who fit into one of these two categories, have been deemed low risk to public safety, and have no more than one criminal or status offense will be candidates for targeted mentoring.
Because of the concentration of need in specific neighborhoods as mentioned above, Family Services will target the Guilmette and Arlington middle schools. It is estimated that 100 percent of these youth will be Latino, live in poverty, and come from disorganized homes and neighborhoods where ties to stable, caring adults are few. Most of these youth live in single-parent households or with relatives while their parents reside in other states or countries. This program will specifically address the threat of gang involvement and help fill a service gap by providing resources for juvenile probation officers working with court-involved youth. CA/NCF