Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $681,818)
The Knoxville Leadership Foundation (KLF) and partners will continue the successful Knoxville Area Mentoring Initiative (KAMI) to serve 400 at-risk youth under the age of 17 from Knoxville, Knox County, and Union County, Tennessee. KAMI is a collaborative partnership of four mentoring organizations in East Tennessee, including KLF’s Amachi Mentoring program (lead applicant), Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee (BBBSET), YMCA of East Tennessee, and the Joy of Music School (JoMS), with decades of experience executing mentoring programs in their communities. KAMI is also supported by Cherokee Health Systems (CHS) and the Metro Drug Coalition (MDC). The selection of youth will be based upon several factors, including their current or previous opioid use, a high rate of opioid use in their communities, opioid use within their families, or involvement in foster care as a result of opioid use. KAMI’s objective is to prevent opioid and other drug use by providing caring adult mentors, providing youth and families with opioid education, and connecting youth and families with support services. Four hundred youth will be paired with 250 screened and trained mentors. The opioid prevention curriculum will allow youth and families to understand the dangers of drug misuse and ensure that they can identify the facts surrounding opioids. Parents and guardians will be included in these education initiatives and will receive information and resources about how to protect their children from opioid misuse. KLF will facilitate the collection of data from each partner, including the number of mentees and mentors, mentor and mentee attrition rates, mentor training completion and retention, behavior changes in the mentees, mentee victimization, and general demographic data on youth served. KAMI partners will work to monitor OJJDP performance measures and behavior changes related to substance use, anti-social behavior, and family relationships through mentor and mentee pre- and post-surveys, which will also analyze the growth and effectiveness of programming, along with proposed recommendations. None of the data collected will be used for research purposes.