Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $2,000,000)
The YMCA of San Francisco (YSF) requests funds to continue the expansion and implementation of its youth mentoring program to 10 states. Reach & Rise® is a therapeutic mentoring program, recently evaluated under a five-year national research project. Operating for thirty years under the leadership of the program’s founder and the YSF, the model provides one to one mentoring to underserved youth living in risk - helping to address some of the most critical challenges facing young people in a post Covid pandemic world.
Since 2009, the YSF has overseen multi-state OJJDP mentoring grants and delivered evidenced-based mentoring nationally to thousands of youths and their parents. The Reach & Rise model incorporates quality mentoring practices by enhancing each benchmark of the Elements of Effective with cognitive behavioral mentoring strategies (CBM) that helps youth positively engage in society while reducing rates of truancy, substance use, and unmet mental health challenges that often results in juvenile justice system engagement. Under this proposal, Reach & Rise aims to engage 900 youth in 10 states, by the end of the three-year period. The ten subrecipients are YMCAs located in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, Tennessee, and Texas.
The Reach & Rise mentor training equips volunteers with the competencies needed to understand the impacts of the target population and understand their role in intervening. To reduce involvement in the juvenile justice system, the program will focus on development of healthy relationships between the youth participants and their siblings, parents, and peers, while supporting academic success, productive use of after school time, and family support. Each Site Coordinator tracks all activities and information regarding recruitment efforts, referrals, participation in trainings and match meetings and enters data into the YSF Salesforce, Exponent database. The National Director monitors to ensure all OJJDP outputs, outcomes, and performance measures are met. Reach & Rise serves youth living in both rural and urban areas, involved in the justice system or at-risk of entering the system, presenting with a host of school-related risk factors, and youth struggling with emotional and mental health needs.