Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $2,000,000)
The Mentoring Opportunities for Youth Initiative, Category 2 (Multi-State Mentoring Program) provides funding to support mentoring organizations in their efforts to strengthen and/or expand their existing mentoring activities within local chapters or sub-awardees (in at least 5 states but fewer than 45 states) to reduce juvenile delinquency, drug abuse, truancy, and other problem and high-risk behaviors. FY 2016 funding will address the factors that can lead to or serve as a catalyst for delinquency or other problem behaviors in underserved youth, including youth in high-risk environments. Programs are encouraged to target their mentoring services to American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) youth; children of parents on active military duty; children of incarcerated parents; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth; youth with disabilities; and youth in rural communities.
The Friends of the Children (FOTC) project will serve youth in five states who are at most risk of delinquency, violence, school failure and early parenting. It will also enhance FOTC mentor training in two areas: improved education engagement and advocacy skills and enhanced supports for mentors matched with children of incarcerated parents. Uniquely designed to improve outcomes for the highest risk youth, FOTC employs salaried, professional mentors (called Friends) and commits to youth for 12.5 years. The FOTC model has been successful at closing the opportunity gap and breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty for children who have experienced multiple, compounding risk factors at an early age. The complex needs of the youth in the program compels the commitment to continuous improvement and FOTC request for support to continue enhancing the evidence-based efficacy of their mentoring services. Under FY 2016 funding, they will strengthen their existing work and expand the program to serve more children. Youth served in this project will mostly be children of color and fifty percent or more will have a parent who is, or has been, incarcerated. T he program will aim to work with more than 265 schools in urban, suburban and rural neighborhoods. FOTC will improve the social-emotional competencies, school success, and juvenile justice avoidance of children between the ages of 5- 17 who are most at risk of delinquency and juvenile justice involvement. Service capacity will be sustained following the conclusion of the grant through funding raised from other private and public sources ensuring that services are continued through each youths elementary, middle, and high school years. CA/NCF