Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2020, $27,250,000)
The Mentoring Opportunities for Youth Initiative, Category 1 (National Mentoring Program) provides funding to support national mentoring organizations in their efforts to strengthen and/or expand their existing mentoring activities within local chapters or sub-awardees (in at least 45 states) to reduce juvenile delinquency, drug abuse (specifically opioid abuse), truancy, and other problem and high-risk behaviors. FY 2020 funding will address the factors that can lead to or serve as a catalyst for delinquency or other problem behaviors in underserved youth, including youth in high-risk environments. Programs are required to target American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) youth, and also highly encouraged to target their mentoring services to children of parents on active military duty; children of incarcerated parents; youth impacted by opioids and drug addiction; youth in rural communities; and youth that experience bullying (including cyberbullying). Programs are also highly encouraged to incorporate youth and law enforcement engagement activities. This program is authorized by Pub. L. No. 116-93, 133 Stat. 2317, 2410.
Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) is uniquely positioned to drive positive outcomes for young people in diverse communities throughout the country. Mentoring at Boys & Girls Clubs is a multicomponent mentoring program that will leverage BGCAs nationwide network to connect at-risk youth with caring mentors, positive youth development, skill-building programs, and prevention strategies designed to reduce substance abuse and bullying. The target population is youth ages 617 experiencing risk factors in low-income communities in all 50 states. This population includes America Indian/Alaskan Native (AI/AN) youth living both on and off reservations, opioid-impacted youth, victimized youth, and youth involved in the juvenile justice system. Risk factors include poverty, low-performing schools, and community violence. All targeted youth face individual and/or environmental risk factors that put them at risk for opioid abuse. Project goals are to promote positive outcomes and reduce negative outcomes for five target groups: youth at risk, AI/AN youth, military-connected youth, youth at risk for participation in gangs, and youth in juvenile detention. Project objectives include providing each youth with a mentor and engaging them in at least two skill-building prevention programs, including one evidence-based prevention program.
Project activities include small group, one-on-one, and peer mentoring, delivered in the youth development environment of a Boys & Girls Club; curriculum-based prevention activities that build skills and character; substance abuse prevention strategies; and a bullying prevention approach that uses peer mentors. Program enhancements include the development of mentor training materials related to virtual mentoring, which may be needed during periods of social distancing in response to COVID-19. Group matching events for law enforcement mentoring will be implemented, enabling officers, youth, and family members to meet and interact to inform matches. Mentees and mentors will each commit to meet for 1 to 2 hours a week for a minimum of 1 year. CA/NCF