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Advancing Wellbeing and Healing through Professional Mentoring, with a focus on Native Communities

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $2,000,000)

The Friends of the Children’s (FOTC) Advancing Wellbeing and Healing through Professional Mentoring, with a focus on Native Communities project will benefit a total of 3300 children and youth in at least seventeen states who are most at risk of delinquency, violence, substance abuse, school failure and early parenting. Uniquely designed to improve outcomes for the highest-risk youth, FOTC employs salaried, professional mentors ("Friends") and commits to youth for 12.5 years. Over the past 30 years, the FOTC model has been successful at closing the opportunity gap and breaking cycles of intergenerational poverty for children who have experienced multiple, compounding risk factors at an early age.

    The goals of the project are to expand FOTC’s reach and impact, strengthening work in rural and Tribal communities and trauma mitigation and healing supports for youth and caregivers. FOTC will: (1) Provide 12 hours/month of professional, individualized goal-directed mentoring to 3300 youth (enrolling 1100 new youth at ages 4-6) assessed as high risk for later anti-social behavior and delinquency by granting subawards to their broad, diverse, and growing national network; and (2)  Enhance FOTC’s paid, professional mentoring supports with evidence-informed and culturally responsive practices for working with Native youth and families and increasing services that advance mental health, promote healing and reduce the likelihood of delinquency and juvenile justice involvement. Following pilot testing, enhancements will be disseminated across the network and, as appropriate, the national mentoring/youth development field.

    FOTC will hire Friends from the communities served, including tribal communities within Native-led chapter(s).  For the enhancement work, FOTC will partner with consultants with experience developing programming for Native youth and trauma-informed mental health supports.  FOTC will measure success by: (1) tracking youth improvement on social emotional learning skill-building, academic outcomes, pro-social peer relationships, and the avoidance of risky behaviors such as substance abuse and juvenile delinquency; and (2) tracking Friends' and program managers' improved knowledge and implementation of enhancement strategies. FOTC will track performance measures using an existing internal Efforts to Outcomes data management system and will not use any portion of the project budget to conduct research.

    The pandemic laid bare and exacerbated disparities for youth already at high-risk for future anti-social behavior and delinquency. This proposal will enable FOTC to strengthen existing work and expand the program to serve more children in Native communities. We aim to share enhancement trainings to strengthen youth outcomes across the national mentoring and youth development sectors.

Date Created: September 27, 2022