Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2019, $500,000)
The Mentoring Opportunities for Youth Initiative, Category 4 (Project Sites and Mentoring Strategies for Youth Impacted by Opioids) supports youth mentoring organizations that have a demonstrated partnership with a public or private substance abuse treatment agency. The focus of this category is to provide mentoring services as a part of a prevention, treatment and supportive approach for those youth impacted by opioids. This program is authorized and funded pursuant to Pub. L. No. 116-6, 133 Stat. 13, 115.
Created by Eluna (formerly The Moyer Foundation), Camp Mariposa provides targeted group and peer mentoring services to youth at high-risk for using opioids due to the substance use disorder of a family member and/or living in communities with high rates of opioid use. The program provides youth ages 9-17 with mentoring, addiction prevention and opioid education programs crucial to preventing opioid use, early substance abuse, and juvenile delinquent behavior. Eluna will partner with the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Nashua and The Youth Council to operate Camp Mariposa Nashua, New Hampshire and with WestCare Ohio and Family Service Association to operate Camp Mariposa Dayton, Ohio. The goals of the program are to prevent use of opioids; delay onset of the first use of drugs and alcohol; prevent or reduce involvement in the juvenile justice system; connect program participants with trained adult mentors; provide training and opportunities for teen alumni to serve as peer mentors to younger program participants; create a positive peer support network for program participants; and provide opportunities for youth and families to participate in positive social activities. The primary vehicle for both group and peer mentoring will be the free weekend camps that are held every other month throughout the year. These weekends offer traditional camp activities enhanced with drug prevention, educational and therapeutic elements. All youth, adult mentors and peer mentors make a one-year commitment to attend program activities, allowing participants to form strong connections in a safe and supportive environment. Additional activities are held for youth and mentors, alumni/Junior Counselors and the families of program participants four to six times a year. It is expected that 400 youth will be served through the Camp Mariposa programs in Dayton and Nashua during the grant period. In addition, 150 trained adult mentors and 30 peer mentors will support youth at the camp weekends and additional activities. The teen component of the program will be expanded to include overnight camps designed to specifically address the needs of teens from communities heavily impacted by the opioid epidemic. In addition, several additional program enhancements will be implemented, including the creation of standardized mentor training modules, an additional evidence-based addiction-prevention curriculum, an additional evidence-based suicide prevention curriculum, and enhanced recognition of mentees and their families.