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.
The mission of Big Sky Youth Empowerment (BYEP) is to create opportunities for at-risk and system-involved youth to experience success with the goal of becoming contributing members of the community through group mentorship and experiential adventures. The purpose of the project is to expand the existing mentoring activities for 2 additional years to serve 192 youth beginning in grade 7 and continue services to established mentees 6 months after high school graduation. BYEP catalyzes potential in at-risk teens by developing social-emotional skills while supporting participants through high school graduation. All of the youth present with at least one risk factor for juvenile delinquency or victimization, with 75 percent experiencing three or more risk factors, including but not limited to suicidal ideation, depression, anxiety, substance use, family conflict, physical or sexual abuse, violence, financial or housing instability, and school failure. Through a fully executed memorandum of understanding with our 18th Judicial District Youth Court Services, BYEP is a resource for probation officers to make available to those youth on their caseload who are in need of and most appropriate for community-based supervision and/or diversion services. BYEP's three distinct program tracks will offer youth 6 years of continuous group mentoring by a collaborative team of BYEP staff and dedicated volunteer mentors. The youth who choose to enroll in the program are exposed to curriculum-driven workshops and experiential adventures for 36 weeks a year. The 4-year Approach Program focuses on developmentally appropriate topics such as teamwork, conflict resolution, healthy relationships, substance use, communication, and suicide awareness. The 2-year Crux and Ascent programs overlay a social/emotional curriculum with skills for independence emphasizing graduation, employment, higher education, housing, financial literacy, and future planning. CA/NCF