Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $1,250,000)
The Mentoring Opportunities for Youth Initiative, Category 5 (Statewide and Regional Mentoring Initiative for Youth Impacted by Opioids and Drug Addiction) supports a broad-based approach to building mentoring program capacity in targeted regions throughout the country to help youth impacted by opioids and drug addiction. This program is authorized and funded pursuant to Pub. L. No. 116-93, 133 Stat. 2317, 2410.
National 4-H Council (Council) will strengthen and expand mentoring programs for youth living within the rural Appalachian region of the United States and address factors that can lead to or serve as a catalyst for delinquency or other problem behaviors in youth. The Appalachian region includes all of West Virginia and parts of 12 other states: Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia, totaling a population of 25 million. The 4-H Health Rocks! Regional Mentoring Program incorporates positive youth development core principles to improve the well-being of rural youth age 17 or younger and identified as at risk or high risk for using opioids. The program improves decision-making skills and increases knowledge about risky behaviors like drugs and alcohol, driving outcomes in reduction of those behaviors. The 4-H Health Rocks! Mentoring curriculum has been updated to reflect current drug trends like opioid abuse, e-cigarettes, and vaping, as well as other trends related to risky behaviors. Goals are to provide one-on-one and/or group mentoring services tailored to the needs of the identified at-risk, high-risk, or underserved youth targeted, and to implement enhanced practices that further align with research and evidence on effective mentoring approaches. Strategies for engaging mentees and mentors include volunteer recruitment, family engagement, ongoing training for mentors, family nights, summer camps, 4-H Club meetings, and other structured activities. Performance measures include number of youth served, mentors trained/retained, and percentage of youth completing the program and exhibiting desired outcomes. Participation and outcome data are reported by sites. CA/NCF