Purpose: To support one-to-one mentoring programs for youth at risk of educational failure, dropping out of school, or involvement in delinquent activities, including gangs.
Background: Part G of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (JJDP) Act of 1974, as amended, authorizes the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) to fund a Juvenile Mentoring Program (JUMP). In fiscal year (FY) 1996, Congress appropriated $4,000,000 to implement this program.
Mentoring, as the term is currently used, can be defined as a one-to-one relationship between a pair of unrelated individuals, usually of different ages, which takes place on a regular basis over an extended period of time. It is usually characterized by a "special bond of mutual commitment" and "an emotional character of respect, loyalty, and identification" (Hamilton, 1990).
As a movement, mentoring has its roots in the closing decades of the 19th century with "Friendly Visitors" who served as role models for children of the poor. Mentoring enjoyed new popularity in the 1970's when corporations heralded the concept as one that fosters achievement. Mentoring was seen as a particularly critical ingredient to success on the corporate ladder (Freedman, 1992).
Within the past 10 years, mentoring has taken on a new dimension and a new target group disadvantaged children and youth. It has emerged as a promising approach for enriching children's lives; addressing the isolation of youth from adult contact; and providing, on a one-to-one basis, support and advocacy to children who need it. Mentoring is also recognized as an important vehicle for harnessing the talents of volunteers to address the problems of poverty (Freedman, 1992).
Congress has recognized the potential of mentoring as a tool for addressing two critical concerns: poor school performance and delinquent activity. Accordingly, OJJDP is making funds available for mentoring programs that specifically address these concerns. Congress also has recognized the importance of school collaboration in mentoring programs, whether as a primary applicant or in partnership with other public or nonprofit private entities.
In a recent study of mentoring, Public/Private Ventures (P/PV) conducted an experimental evaluation of Big Brothers and Big Sisters (BB/BS) programs (Tierney et al., 1995). In this study youth were randomly assigned to a BB/BS mentoring program or to a BB/BS waiting list. The study emphasized the importance of carefully structured programs with adequate management, training, case management, policies, procedures, and establishment of clear standards. These standards relate to screening of the adults and youth, training and orientation of volunteers, the matching process, required frequency of meetings, and supervision of matches.
In determining whether a one-to-one mentoring experience made a tangible difference in the lives of these young people, the study identified several positive results:
P/PV concluded that the research presented clear and encouraging evidence that caring relationships between adults and youth, resulting in a wide range of tangible benefits, can be created and supported by mentoring programs.
While the P/PV study did not characterize the type of relationship that was formed or relate it to the impact on the youth, the researchers did say that the study enabled them to make several findings about the relationships between mentor and mentee:
P/PV's study and others also identified key program infrastructure prerequisites:
Although there are no research findings to date with regard to the OJJDP-funded JUMP programs, several observations can be made as a result of the establishment and operation of these programs:
Goals: To reduce juvenile delinquency and gang participation by at-risk youth; to improve academic performance of at-risk youth; and to reduce the dropout rate for at-risk youth.
Objectives: The objectives of this initiative are to:
Program Strategy: Applicants should submit funding requests for a 3-year project period. JUMP programs currently funded by OJJDP are not eligible to receive funds under this solicitation. OJJDP encourages applications from both new programs and those programs with proven track records and a desire to expand their mentoring activities in accordance with this solicitation. All applicants must address the following elements in their application.
The Nature of the Partnership With Local Educational Agencies
Both local education agencies (LEA's) and public/private nonprofit organizations may apply. When public/private nonprofit agencies are the primary applicant, their programs must involve collaboration with an LEA. Likewise an LEA must collaborate with a relevant public/private nonprofit agency. Because two goals of this program are to improve academic performance and reduce the dropout rate, applications must contain written assurance from the LEA that it will agree to provide academic records in accordance with its regulations for use in carrying out a funded program and that it will cooperate to the fullest extent possible with a national program evaluator. Another example of the form this collaboration might take is the designation of a school employee to be a school coordinator. Suggested responsibilities might include assisting with the selection of mentees, advising on the academic needs of the mentee, coordinating meetings, providing academic records when needed, and notifying mentors of the inability of mentees to meet.
Programs should target only at-risk youth. This solicitation uses the term "at-risk youth" to mean a youth who is exposed to high levels of risk in his or her family, home, community, and social environment, which may lead to educational failure, dropping out of school, or involvement in juvenile delinquency, including gangs. Programs must target at-risk youth in high crime areas that have 60 percent or more of their youth eligible to receive Chapter I funds under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and have a considerable number of youth who drop out of school each year. Documentation of the existence of those prerequ-isites should be included in all applications.
Program Goal, Objectives, and Design
The goal should be an overall statement of purpose on what the applicant expects to achieve with the grant. The objectives should be activities that will help the applicant achieve the goal, and they should be stated in clear measurable terms. For example, the mentoring program will serve x-number of mentees per year, academic performance will be improved by x-percent, gang participation will be reduced by x-percent, and dropout rates will be reduced by x-percent. Applicants are encouraged to be realistic in developing their goals and objectives and specific in addressing the needs of their targeted community.
All prospective employees and volunteers who would have contact with youth must be screened. Each program is required to have a written screening policy that would be implemented with great care and applied consistently to all mentors. At a minimum, this policy must require the names of two to three character references (at least one of whom is a work reference) and the applicant's consent for a name check through criminal and child abuse records. A written form for reference checks must be used and kept on file.
The extent of the background search should depend on the circumstances in which the mentor and mentee will be having contact. For example, a program involving young mentees and contacts or activities that do not occur at the school or work site or as part of a larger group should at a minimum require criminal history checks on all matched volunteers, from local, State, or national law enforcement authorities, where legally permissible. There should be a case-by-case determination as to whether the background information obtained from screening should be a bar to participate unless otherwise provided by statute or regulation. A candidate may be disqualified to reasonably protect youth from physical, psychological, or sexual abuse. A mentor applicant's failure to provide information requested would result in automatic disqualification of the applicant.
Applicants must assure that projects operated in secondary schools will provide mentees with a variety of activities, including an opportunity to spend time or participate in the work environment, witness job skills useful for obtaining employment, obtain assistance with homework, and be exposed to positive new experiences. These youth should also receive emotional support. Projects involving elementary school age children should include such activities as academic assistance, exposure to positive new activities, and emotional support. Projects should assure that mentors and mentees can meet in safe, secure, and mutually convenient locations.
Evaluation Methods and Processes
Evaluation is critical to ensuring that the mentoring program is operating as designed and meeting its goals in terms of both the process and the impact on the mentee. The program must collect data on program operations and program effectiveness in reducing juvenile delinquency and gang participation, improving academic performance, and reducing the school dropout rate. OJJDP is required by Congress to submit a report regarding the success and effectiveness of these programs 120 days after the programs' termination. Consequently, programs funded under JUMP must be capable of providing this information and must provide written assurance that they will participate in a national program evaluation. Applicants selected for funding under this mentoring program will be provided with an evaluation manual that has been specifically developed for OJJDP. The JUMP program evaluation manual will include data collection procedures and the national evaluation program requirements.
Additional Application Requirements
Applicants with existing mentoring programs must provide data on the number of youth in the ongoing project; the number of active matches originally planned; the number of existing matches at the time of submission of this application; and an outline of the strategy currently being used to recruit, screen, conduct background checks, train, and maintain mentors and youth.
Applicants should address how their program either currently complies with these guidelines or will comply with them in the future. Applicants must demonstrate that they have or will create an infrastructure capable of fully supporting their program.
All applicants must submit written documentation and specify that they have the support of a school. If the applicants have an existing relationship with an LEA, this should be explained and assurances must be provided that this relationship will continue. Where appropriate, similar documentation from public agencies, community groups, and businesses that might be directly involved must also be provided.
If the project has been evaluated, results should be reported and a summary of the evaluation provided as an appendix.
Applicants must provide a 3-year (36 month) workplan with a timeline that specifies all program activities to be accomplished in the first, second, and third years of the program.
Applicants shall provide a 36-month budget with a detailed justification for all costs, including the basis for computation of these costs. Whether the school or an eligible public/private nonprofit group is the primary applicant, it is suggested that one full-time staff coordinator oversee up to 60 70 matches. In addition, a second individual, either a volunteer, paid, or assigned employee, should generally be expected to devote at least 6 7 hours a week to this project. Allocation of $75 per mentoring match per year to cover incidental expenses is also recommended. Program funds cannot be used directly to compensate mentors except for reimbursement for reasonable incidental expenses, such as transportation, that are directly associated with the mentoring program.
Applicants must provide an Internet address or include a line item in their budget for Internet setup.
There will be two cluster meetings held during the 3-year project period. Applicants shall budget for the costs for the JUMP Coordinator and one other key staff person to attend two meetings lasting a day and a half each in the first and third project years. These meetings will be held in Washington, D.C., for the purpose of reviewing program implementation, evaluation, and any other related programmatic concerns.
Products: If appropriate, applicants should describe what written materials they will produce and how materials may be useful to their own program participants and others hoping to replicate their efforts.
Eligibility Requirements: Applications are invited from local education agencies and public/private nonprofit organizations that can demonstrate knowledge of and/or experience with mentoring programs, volunteers, and youth. When an LEA is the primary applicant, it must enter a partnership with a public or private agency or a public/private nonprofit agency. Likewise, a public/private nonprofit agency that applies as a primary applicant must partner with the LEA. National organizations are not eligible for these funds. Applicants awarded FY 1994 and 1995 OJJDP JUMP Program funds are not eligible for FY 1996 funding.
Selection Criteria: Applications will be rated by a peer review panel on the extent to which they meet the criteria below.
Problem(s) To Be Addressed (15 points)
The applicant clearly identifies the need for this project, describes the target population, and documents that it meets statutory requirements for focusing on at-risk and delinquent youth in a community where at least 60 percent are eligible for Chapter 1 funds and that the target area has the characteristics needed for an effective mentoring program.
In addressing this requirement, applicants must provide data on (1) existing school dropout rates; (2) teenage pregnancy rates; (3) the serious and violent juvenile crime rate; (4) gang activity in the target area; (5) juvenile arrest data; (6) drug use and sales; and (6) other indicators of risk factors in the target area, such as poverty, unemployment, and neighborhood disintegration.
Goals and Objectives (10 points)
The overall goal for the project is clearly related to the problems of at-risk youth in this targeted community. The objectives are clearly defined, measurable, and obtainable.
Project Design (30 points)
The project design is sound and contains program elements directly linked to the achievement of the project objectives. The applicant explains in clear terms how the mentors and mentees will be recruited, screened, trained, and matched to achieve their mentoring program and how other resources and individuals will be used to implement the mentoring program in the community. The applicant includes a partnership agreement between the private nonprofit organization and the LEA. The applicant provides a workplan with a timeline that indicates significant milestones in the project, due dates for products, and the nature of the products to be submitted.
Management and Organizational Capability (35 points)
The project's management structure and staffing are adequate to complete the project success-fully. The applicant demonstrates that the project will be appropriately staffed. Collaborative relationships are established in writing and clearly document the responsibilities of the repre-sentative partners. The applicant organization's potential to conduct the project successfully and its history of working with volunteers and youth are documented.
Budget (10 points)
Budgeted costs are reasonable, allowable, and cost effective for the activities proposed.
Award Period: Grantees selected for award will be funded for a 3-year project period.
Award Amount: OJJDP is limiting the amount of individual awards to a maximum of $190,000 for a total project and budget period of 3 years. The total amount of funds for the JUMP program in FY 1996 is $4,000,000.
Delivery Instructions: All application packages should be mailed or delivered to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, c/o Juvenile Justice Resource Center, 1600 Research Boulevard, Mail Stop 2K, Rockville, MD 20850; 301 251 5535. Note: In the lower left-hand corner of the envelope, you must clearly write "Juvenile Mentoring Program."
Due Date: Applicants are responsible for ensuring that the original and five copies of the application are received no later than 5 p.m. EDT on September 20, 1996.
Contact: For further information call Travis Cain or Cora Roy, Program Managers, Special Emphasis Division, 202 307 5914, or send an e-mail inquiry to [email protected] or [email protected].
Caliber Associates. OJJDP Juvenile Justice Mentoring Program Evaluation Workbook. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, December 1995. Freedman, M. The Kindness of Strangers; Reflections on the Mentoring Movement. Philadelphia, PA: Public/Private Ventures, 1992. Furano, K., P. A. Roaf, M. Styles, and A. Branch. Big Brothers/Big Sisters. A Study of Program Practices. Philadelphia, PA: Public/Private Ventures, Winter 1993. Greim, J. L. Adult/Youth Relationships Pilot Project: Initial Implementation Report. Philadelphia, PA: Public/Private Ventures, 1992. Hamilton, Stephen F. Apprenticeship for Adulthood. New York: Free Press, 1990, p. 156. "Juvenile Mentoring Program (JUMP) Guidelines. Notice." Federal Register 59 (144, ), July 28, 1994, 38520 38522. Mecartney, C. A, M. B. Styles, and K. V. Morrow. Mentoring in the Juvenile Justice System: Findings from Two Pilot Programs. Philadelphia, PA: Public/Private Ventures, Winter 1994. Morrow, K. V., and M. B. Styles. Building Relationships with Youth In Program Settings: A Study of Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Philadelphia, PA: Public/Private Ventures, 1992. Pittman, K. Defining the Fourth R: Youth Development Through Building Relationships. Washington, DC: Academy for Educational Development, 1992. Roaf, P. A., J. P. Tierney, and D. E. I. Hunte. Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America: A Study of Volunteer Recruitment and Screening. Philadelphia, PA: Public/Private Ventures, Fall 1994. Styles, M. B., and K. V. Morrow. Understanding How Youth and Elders Form Relationships: A Study of Four Linking Lifetimes Programs. Philadelphia, PA: Public/Private Ventures, 1992. Tierney, J. P., and A. Y. Branch. College Students as Mentors for At-Risk Youth: A Study of Six Campus Partners in Learning Programs. Philadelphia, PA: Public/Private Ventures, 1992. Tierney, J. P., J. B. Grossman, and N. L. Resch. Making a Difference: An Impact Study of Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Philadelphia, PA: Public/Private Ventures, Fall 1995.