Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2019, $1,250,000)
The Mentoring Opportunities for Youth Initiative, Category 5 (Statewide and Regional Mentoring Initiative for Youth Impacted by Opioids) supports a broad-based approach to building mentoring program capacity in targeted regions throughout the country to help youth impacted by opioids. This program is authorized and funded pursuant to Pub. L. No. 116-6, 133 Stat. 13, 115.
In partnership with land-grant universities and the Cooperative Extension System, the National 4-H Council will strengthen and expand mentoring programs for youth living within the rural Appalachian region of the United States and address factors that can lead to, or serve as a catalyst for, delinquency or other problem behaviors in youth. The Appalachian Region includes all of West Virginia and parts of 12 other states: Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. The program aims to serve 1,000 youth in at least 5 states (16 sites) via an estimated 5 subawards to active land-grant universities. The 4-H Health Rocks! Regional Mentoring Program incorporates the core principles of positive youth development to improve the well-being of rural youth age 17 or younger and identified as at risk or high risk for using opioids, especially underserved populations. It improves youth decision-making skills and increases knowledge about risky behaviors like drugs and alcohol, driving outcomes in reduction of those behaviors. Its mentoring curriculum was updated to reflect current drug trends like opioid abuse, e-cigarettes, and vaping, as well as other trends related to risky behaviors. Program goals are to provide one-on-one and/or group mentoring services tailored to the needs of the identified atrisk, high-risk, or underserved youth targeted, and to implement enhanced practices that further align with research and evidence on effective mentoring approaches. Strategies for engaging mentees and mentors include volunteer recruitment, family engagement, ongoing training for mentors, family nights, summer camps, 4-H Club meetings, and other structured activities. Performance measures will include the number of youth served, the number of mentors trained/retained, and the percentage of youth completing the program and exhibiting the desired outcomes. CA/NCF