Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $500,000)
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.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Heart of Georgia (BBBS) offers structured, professionally-supported, one-to-one mentoring programs that utilize evidence-based practices. The Mentoring for change in Central Georgia Program will allow BBBS to build on its past success to offer mentoring dedicated to youth involved with juvenile justice and/or living in rural counties in four counties in Central Georgia. The program will serve 200 at-risk children ages 6-17, over a three-year grant period. The program will positively impact these youths by helping them reduce risky behaviors, enhance behavioral development and avoid further involvement with the juvenile justice system. As part of this project they will enhance the existing programs by providing more structured activities and a greater focus on parent/family engagement. The ultimate goal is to provide exposure outside of their individual environments for increased opportunities for a positive future. The program will invite law enforcement officers to serve as mentors through the Bigs in Blue initiative to help youth and their families to have positive interactions with law enforcement personnel. Mentors will be offered more extensive training to help them better assist their mentees. Youth and their families will be carefully assessed, and then matched with an appropriate mentor for at least 12 months, or one school year. Professional staff will provide support to the mentor and youth with monthly contacts, offering resources and guidance to help the match reach agreed upon goals. Progress towards goals will be measured through youth, parent, and volunteer surveys developed by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. CA/NCF