Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $1,643,043)
Through this project, After-School All-Stars (ASAS) will expand and enhance the Rising Stars Mentoring program, which will allow ASAS to reach at-risk youth struggling with multiple risk factors that contribute to juvenile crime and truancy in 27 metropolitan communities in seven states (Florida, Las Vegas, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puget Sound, Texas). In year one, ASAS will implement Rising Stars across seven chapters in a total of 24 sites, which will be supported by 68 mentors and serve 600 mentees with the number of mentees increasing by 10% each following year; the number of mentors will increase year over year to sustain a 10:1 ratio. ASAS will serve 1,986 students over the three-year grant period. ASAS hybrid (group and one-on-one) mentoring program targets at-risk youth (grades 6-12th) and directly addresses the following societal problems: the influence of early exposure to risk factors on later delinquent behavior, the achievement gap, critical need for Social Emotional Learning skills, broken relationships between law enforcement and at-risk youth, and family engagement to support caregivers as advocates for their children. Funds will be used to implement the evidence-based curriculum, Positive Action; implement a variety of family engagement initiatives to support mentees and their families; implement the research-based National Institute of Out-of-School-Times Survey of Academic and Youth Outcomes to capture program impact; and provide mentor-focused professional development for mentors including bullying prevention trainings. During out-of-school-time enrichment activities intentionally infused with SEL skill development, paid staff and volunteer mentors will use best practice-aligned lesson plans to engage mentees in discussing a variety of topics including bullying, leadership, teamwork, peer influences/choices, and personal responsibility. Programs will take place in Title I schools in high poverty, metropolitan areas.
Through regular, positive, structured engagement activities, mentees, their mentors, and law enforcement will be given an opportunity to build genuine connections and learn from each other.
Programs goals include providing mentees with career preparedness activities and resources to build a positive sense of the future, supporting social emotional development and exploration of opportunities to address individual risk factors. Two significant outcomes will arise from the ASAS mentoring model: young people will be deterred from the activities associated with juvenile delinquency while community members and law enforcement officers will be provided direct opportunities to build affirming relationships and find common ground through fun activities. Other community partners include public and charter schools, a variety of corporate sponsors at each chapter, and research-based curriculum providers.