Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $1,000,000)
Fostering Aspirations: Mentor Engagement (FAME) is a robust youth mentoring initiative focusing on at-risk and high-risk individuals under 18 in Hillsborough and Polk County, FL. The FAME program is driven by the objective to improve academic performance, curb school dropout rates, and minimize the prevalence of detrimental behaviors including juvenile delinquency, substance misuse, and gang participation. By fostering aspirations and facilitating engagement, FAME seeks to not only decrease the harmful outcomes but also to inspire a growth mindset, foster resilience, and encourage positive social behavior among our young participants. Our aim is to substantially increase the number of at-risk youth benefitting from meaningful mentoring services.
Fundamental to achieving this objective is the commitment to recruit, screen, and train a significant cadre of mentors who genuinely reflect the demographics and lived experiences of the young people they mentor. It is our firm belief that mentors who can resonate with the challenges and circumstances of their mentees can cultivate stronger, more effective connections and provide relatable, practical guidance on overcoming adversity. We've created a comprehensive mentor training program that adheres to evidence-based mentoring practices derived from current research. This structured curriculum ensures mentors are equipped with essential skills and understanding to navigate the unique needs and challenges of the at-risk youth they serve.
Through FAME, mentors maintain consistent interactions with their mentees, focusing on academic support, emotional development, and essential life skills. The program also emphasizes a collaborative approach, maintaining regular communication with parents, teachers, and relevant community stakeholders to create a unified support network. To deliver these transformative services, FAME will partner with the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, the Public School System, and the Foster Care System. These strategic partnerships will enable us to identify potential candidates and provide tailored, comprehensive support to our mentees.
The FAME program is built on a foundation of continuous improvement and evolution. Regular feedback from all stakeholders, coupled with ongoing assessments of mentee academic and behavioral progress, inform regular program enhancements. The FAME program exemplifies the transformative power of mentoring, and its potential to fundamentally alter the trajectory of at-risk and high-risk youth in our community. Our mission is to provide an environment where the aspirations of every child are nurtured and their potential is realized, regardless of their circumstances. Through this commitment, we aim to shape a brighter, more prosperous future for our youth, fostering aspiration and mentor engagement for all.