Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $500,000)
The Uhuru Foundation will offer mentoring services to youth in Charlottesville City and Albemarle County who are involved in the juvenile justice system. The expected outcome of this project is reduced future involvement in the juvenile justice system. Uhuru intends to serve 20 youth the first year, 40 youth the second year, and 40 the third, for a total of 100 youth. Uhuru intends to recruit two additional credible messengers who, along with its Executive Director and Deputy Director, will offer Healthy, Wealthy and Wise (HWW) to youth in this region. Uhuru is partnering with the Commonwealth of Virginia Attorney, with the goal of supporting recommendations to the presiding judge about how a system involved youth should be sentenced. Uhuru will conduct the intake process at its Charlottesville location, and as part of this process, the adolescent will develop a life goals plan that will guide their work together moving forward. Uhuru will then review the information collected during the intake process and pair him with a case manager/facilitator with shared life experiences. All youth will be given the opportunity to participate in Healthy, Wealthy and Wise (HWW). HWW is a culturally relevant and trauma-informed program developed by the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform and Community & Youth Outreach, a community-based organization in Oakland, California. HWW's two-pronged approach includes 1) weekly group sessions over a period of 14 weeks and 2) regular individual meetings with a life coach/mentor. Each HWW cohort serves approximately 10-15 clients at a time. HWW is a flexible curriculum that can be delivered on a one-on-one basis if a group session is not an option. Because Uhuru will likely receive referrals from the Commonwealth's Attorney's Offices in a staggered fashion, Uhuru predicts that individual sessions will be more feasible than group sessions, but will offer group sessions when possible.