Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $499,996)
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.
The Girls412 program is an effort by Gwens Girls to address and improve outcomes (e.g., academic performance, school attendance, referral to juvenile justice) for at-risk and system-involved girls in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania by systematically working to promote access to resources and disrupt oppressive contexts through mentoring. Three times per year, the program will match 15 at-risk girls ages 1017 in Allegheny County with 15 adult mentors from law enforcement, business, social services, or another community agency to participate in a 15-week mentoring relationship. Goals of the program are to (1) provide mentoring services tailored to the needs of at-risk and system-involved girls, which involves intensive mentor training and matching mentors/mentees based on common interests for a total of 135 girls and 50 mentors over a 3-year period; (2) develop and implement program design enhancements that align with research and evidence on effective mentoring approaches, which involves enhancing traditional mentor training through the addition of unique, emerging, evidence-based curricula (Black Girls Advocacy and Leadership Alliance; ROSES - Resilience, Opportunity, Safety, Education, Strength Advocacy Program; and Community Reconnaissance) to support the needs of at-risk girls; and (3) support girls success with the program via engagement with external stakeholders, which involves engaging parents/guardians and family members in championing participants achievement toward defined goals, celebrating accomplishments, and referring to needed services; and engaging participants in greater understanding of social justice principles through opportunities to interact with law enforcement. The program strategy will be to recruit girls as referred by local school districts, the Allegheny County Juvenile Probation Office (ACJPO), or community agencies, then match them 1:1 with an adult mentor to proceed through the curriculum components. Essential to the success of the Girls412 program will be the girls ability to lead their experience in the program and the delivery of the mentoring within a natural community context (i.e., school, neighborhood, home), along with pathways to access needed resources. Gwens Girls will rely on established partnerships with ACJPO, Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern Pennsylvania, and Black Girls Equity Alliance. Program outcomes for at-risk girls include an increase in self-efficacy and resilience and a reduction in negative outcomes, including substance use, depression, anger, anxiety, physical fights, and other risk-taking behaviors that could propel them toward initial or subsequent involvement with the juvenile justice system. CA/NCF