Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $601,519)
Positive Action Against Chemical Addiction, Inc. “PAACA” is a non-profit organization that has been dedicated to the prevention and treatment of substance abuse for the past 38 years. PAACA’s Youth Services Division currently operates the only two recognized Youth Courts in Massachusetts, an array of afterschool/summer programming, and other prevention services for youth. South Coast Youth Courts “SCYC”, a juvenile diversion program, serves at-risk youth and prevents first-time offenders from entering the juvenile system by providing positive youth development, accountability, mentoring,and engagement. SCYC utilizes an in-house/wrap-around approach and primarily serves youths aged 10-18. SCYC’s current programming has a strong case management component where each youth is assigned to a case manager who acts as a mentor to that youth and is responsible for making sure the youth is successful in completing the programming. These case managers act as liaisons between the youths, schools, referral parties, families, and other referral sources such as mental health providers. Enrolled youth also participate in group mentoring through community projectswhich are completed as a team, supervised by case managers and program facilitators, and allow at-risk youths to work side-by-side with mentors and contribute to the community. PAACA seeks to expand its Youth Court mentoring services by offering diversion to an additional 50 youth per year. In addition funding shall serve to create “Project L.I.V.E.” (Laugh.Inspire.Value.Educate.) to reach 30 additional youths that are abusing opioids/drugs; addicted to or at-risk of abusing opioids/drugs; and those with family members who currently use or abuse opioids/drugs. Project L.I.V.E will be an 8-week afterschool/summer program for five sessions (each year) for a period of three years: averaging 40 weeks of service per year. The program will use police officers, staff, and other recruits as mentors in hands-on activities including sports, STEM, arts, community service, and substance abuse education. In partnership with SSTAR, and the local Police Departments, PAACA will improve academic performance, reduce school dropout rates, reduce drug abuse, educate about drug use/prevention, and reduce delinquency for youths affected by opioids and drug addiction in Fall River and New Bedford, Massachusetts. PAACA seeks to provide mentoring services 80 youths per year, totaling 240 youths by the end of the grant period. The program will provide mentee youths with the resources and tools they need to become better students, address substance use/abuse issues, and contribute positively to their community.