Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $1,000,000)
America SCORES will use a group mentoring program during after school hours centering around a holistic (sports, arts, service) curricula to improve the social-emotional, physical fitness, and school engagement outcomes for 7,500 elementary- and middle-school-aged Black, Indigenous, and other children of color (BIPOC youth) who receive free/reduced lunch, live in under-resourced, high poverty neighborhoods, and/or attend under-performing urban Title I Schools in 10 major US metropolitan areas. These youth are at-risk because they have high exposure to trauma, toxic stress, and Adverse Childhood Experiences resulting in mental health ailments (e.g. isolation, anger, disconnection from school and community), physical health ailments (obesity, turning to drugs/alcohol to cope) and depressed academic performance. America SCORES will match groups of at-risk BIPOC youth with teams of trained community-based mentors. America Scores will remove all barriers to access (programs are free and take place at mentees' schools after school); recruit mentors from school staff (adults ideally-situated to also support mentees outside of program hours); provide mentors intensive training and provide mentor teams ongoing in-person and online supports; mentoring activities within a fun, evidence-based, whole-child curriculum integrating soccer leagues, poetry/spoken word writing/performance, and service projects. America Scores will deliver programming through a network of local independent affiliates deeply embedded in the cities they serve, in close partnership with local schools and school districts. Local MS teams and spoken word artist partners will create opportunities for mentor-mentee groups to further bond. Objectives and key deliverables are: (1) Recruit, screen, and train 500 mentors to work with and support at-risk urban youth in Boston, DC, Chicago, Cleveland, LA, Milwaukee, New York, San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle. and St. Louis; (2) Provide 7,500 at-risk children in those cities a collective total of nearly 600,000 child-hours of team-based mentoring/year. Outcomes: measurable improvements in mentees school engagement, social-emotional wellbeing, literacy, and physical fitness. Helping mentees build close relationships with peers and mentors; giving teachers a mentoring 'second shift' that reinvigorates their love of their profession; and providing weekly reasons for communities to gather together to cheer on their children—is the lasting power of the program.