Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2020, $2,000,000)
The Mentoring Opportunities for Youth Initiative, Category 2 (Multi-State Mentoring Program) provides funding to support mentoring organizations in their efforts to strengthen and/or expand their existing mentoring activities within local chapters or sub-awardees (in at least 5 states but fewer than 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 encouraged to target their mentoring services to children of parents on active military duty; children of incarcerated parents; youth with opioid/substance abuse problems; youth that experience bullying (including cyberbullying); and youth in rural communities. This program is authorized and funded pursuant to Pub. L. No. 116-93, 133 Stat. 2317, 2410. The National Indian Youth Leadership Project (NIYLP) will provide group and peer mentoring services to at-risk, high-risk, and underserved primarily American Indian and other youth in 10 sites across 7 states via Project Venture. Project Venture mentoring will reach 2,480 mostly American Indian youth and recruit and train 752 mostly American Indian peer mentors. With FY 2020 funding, NIYLP will enhance Project Venture’s mentoring initiative by increasing monitoring and support to sub-awardee sites, mentor recruitment by targeting law enforcement/first responders, and opportunities for high school peer mentors to connect across program sites using social media. Project Venture also will increase family engagement through local solutions to local challenges and increase incentives for participation. Sub-awardees in seven states will implement the initiative. Project Venture relies on American Indian traditional values to help youth develop positive self-concepts, effective social skills, a community service ethic, an internal locus of control, resilience, healthy decision-making, and effective problem-solving skills. Project Venture uses a positive youth development approach that capitalizes on strengths rather than deficits. Project Venture has several program components: (1) adventure-based, outdoor experiential activities; (2) service learning; and (3) peer mentor leadership. Project Venture is a cascading model of mentoring that provides several layers of multi-generational support and multiple opportunities for parent/caretaker and family engagement. The program goal is to reduce negative outcomes associated with juvenile delinquency and improve outcomes for at-risk, high-risk, or underserved American Indian and other youth, including life skills, social-emotional learning, and academic performance. NIYLP will not be conducting research.