Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $2,000,000)
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 (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 encouraged to target their mentoring services to American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) youth; children of parents on active military duty; children of incarcerated parents; youth with disabilities; youth with opioid/substance abuse problems; and youth in rural communities. This program is authorized and funded pursuant to Pub L. No. 115-141, 132 Stat. 348, 423.
The AARP Foundation Experience Corps (EC) strives to stop the low-literacy delinquency cycle through its evidence-based program that places trained academic mentors with struggling readers to help them increase their motivation to learn, accelerate their reading gains, and catch up to grade level reading by the end of third grade. With more than 20 years of experience, EC will provide academic mentoring services to 6,000 at-risk and high-risk youth in grades K3 through their intergenerational literacy tutoring and mentoring model. EC will match struggling readers with active older adults (age 50+) in school- and afterschool-based mentoring relationships that last the entire school year. The EC program model is driven by findings from a Washington University study of the program that identified the strongest impacts on academic progress occur after 35 mentor-mentee sessions of an average of 30 minutes in length at least twice per week. Pre- and post-progress data are collected by each mentees teacher or literacy specialist at the start of the mentoring relationship and again at the end of the school year or match.
With funding from this request, EC will serve students through its enhanced Academic Mentoring Program in 10 states over the next 3 years. Locations will be funded in Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Cleveland, OH; Evansville, IN; Marin County, CA; Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN; New Haven, CT; Philadelphia, PA; Phoenix, AZ; Portland, OR; and Tempe, AZ. The goals of the EC Academic Mentoring Program are to (1) reduce high-risk disruptive behaviors and increase positive social emotional and academic behaviors in school, including participation and concentration in class, self-confidence, motivation to learn, and attendance; (2) increase academic literacy outcomes among participating mentees; and (3) enhance training and supports for mentors to strengthen mentor-mentee relationships.