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Badges For Baseball - A Youth Mentoring Program

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2019, $2,550,000)

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. 116-6, 133 Stat. 13, 115.

The Cal Ripken, Sr., Foundation (CRSF), a Baltimore-based 501(c)(3) national nonprofit organization, uses research-aligned practices to connect at-risk youth with caring, adult mentors in small mentoring groups across the nation. Its target population is youth ages 9–14 in communities with multiple risk factors (poverty, drugs, gangs) for juvenile delinquency and other circumstantial obstacles that prevent them from successfully transitioning to adulthood. Strained relationships between law enforcement and community members—as seen in Baltimore and other U.S. cities—undermine efforts to build safer communities. The Badges for Baseball (Badges) program helps break down these barriers by pairing at-risk youth with civilian, law enforcement, public safety, and military mentors who participate in structured, afterschool programs that help youth build life skills, stay in school, and make positive behavioral decisions—propelling them to success in life. By engaging law enforcement officers as mentors, Badges creates an environment for officers and at-risk youth to build healthy, strong relationships that promote safer communities. CRSF uses four elements in their approach: (1) structured mentoring activities for mentors and youth; (2) enhanced mentor training (in-person and web-based) on research-aligned practices; (3) communitywide partnerships and familial engagement around Badges; and (4) improved attitudes between at-risk youth and law enforcement mentors. CRSF builds local, state, and national partnerships to ensure program success. Significant collaborations include those with the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, U.S. Marshals Service, Baltimore Police Department, Major Cities Chiefs Association, Mississippi Department of Human Services, Washington/Baltimore HIDTA, Office of the Ohio Attorney General, Maryland State Police, and many others. CRSF aims to engage thousands of youth with trained mentors through transformative, life-changing experiences. CA/NCF

Date Created: September 19, 2019