Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $567,627)
The Beginning New Outreach Opioid Affected Youth Program will deliver mentoring for youth affected by the opioid crisis and drug addiction. The project will provide ongoing mentoring for youth who are currently abusing or addicted to drugs, youth at risk for abusing, and youth with family members who are currently abusing or addicted to drugs. Education will be delivered through an evidence-based Substance Abuse Prevention Program (SAPP) curriculum paired with Positive Youth Development (PYD). This will help participants voluntarily refrain from use of illegal substances and alcohol (specifically opioid-related substances), and promote social and emotional well-being and healthy transitions to adulthood to high-risk and vulnerable youth ages 11–17. Beginning New Outreach will provide mentoring and SAPP and PYD to middle school- and high school-age youth to build healthy life skills and protective factors. The project seeks to address high opioid and substance abuse rates in the target community by delivering substance abuse education through evidence-based classroom instruction that includes PYD as part of its risk avoidance strategies, help participants build healthy life skills, empower participants to make healthy decisions, prevent opioid and other substance use, and prevent youth engagement in other risky behaviors.
The project will target youth ages 11–17 living in the Troup County, Georgia and Russell County, Alabama area with high substance use and crime rates. The population is important to service, as the overdose death rate and violent crime rate continue to increase each year. Beginning New Outreach will target populations vulnerable for runaway and homeless, in and aging out of foster care, and in the juvenile justice system.