Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $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. 116-93, 133 Stat. 2317, 2410.
Vineyard Family Services of Central Alabama, Inc. (VFS) is a faith-based, nonprofit agency located in Shelby County, Alabama, part of the Birmingham metro area. The mission of VFS is feeding kids in need, promoting responsible fatherhood, and helping families in crisis. VFS seeks to increase public safety throughout Shelby County through offering a quality mentoring program to at-risk youth. The VFS target population is youth ages 1217 who are at risk of substance abuse, aggression, and justice system involvement, with an emphasis on youth from rural communities in the county and youth flagged by Compact 2020 officers as at risk for substance abuse. The project goals center around decreasing recidivism, reducing risk-taking and antisocial attitudes, increasing positive interactions with law enforcement and family, and increasing financial self-sufficiency. In pursuit of the stated goals, VFS will seek to help youth understand the consequences of substance use, violence, and risk-taking; increase their drug-resistant skills; and develop strategies for making healthy decisions, reducing stress, and managing anger. Using an evidence-based curriculum, Bolvin Life Skills, VFS seeks to increase self-efficacy and resilience in program participants. Building on the foundation of responsible fatherhood, VFS strives to increase parent involvement. Partnering with Compact 2020, Shelby County Arts Council, and Alabama 4H, VFS will enhance character development of youth participants through art and sports mentoring, team-building activities, and community service projects. The Wise Advisors program seeks to enhance social development of youth participants through healthy, trusting relationships, and will provide opportunities for youth to engage with law enforcement and other caring adults in healthy and fun activities. CA/NCF