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The STARS Multi-state Peer Mentoring Partnership

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2020, $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 (specifically opioid abuse), truancy, and other problem and high-risk behaviors. FY 2020 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 children of parents on active military duty; children of incarcerated parents; youth with opioid/substance abuse problems; youth that experience bullying (including cyberbullying); and youth in rural communities. This program is authorized and funded pursuant to Pub. L. No. 116-93, 133 Stat. 2317, 2410. FRIENDS FIRSTs STARS Peer Mentoring Partnership (STARSP) will ensure that 1,050 (350 per year) youth across 5 states are empowered to make positive choices and learn the protective factors and skills needed to avoid involvement in bullying/cyberbullying behavior, as well as a variety of other high-risk behaviors that may lead to involvement in the juvenile justice system. The program will target a broad and diverse population of youth, including Native American youth, immigrant youth, and youth from high-poverty and/or high-minority areas. STARS uses a best-practice, evidence-informed approach to peer mentoring whereby older students are trained and supported by an adult program coordinator to facilitate a structured and youth-led set of curriculum sessions and activities. In turn, those youth mentors implement a cross-age, peer-mentoring model in a group setting, delivering a positive youth development program. To accomplish this, FRIENDS FIRST program coordinators provide the outlet, skills, training, and adult-supervised space needed for the youth mentors within the STARS program to facilitate mentoring to small groups of younger mentees (ratio 1:4). The STARS curriculum follows the Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring outlined by National Mentor. Furthermore, FRIENDS FIRST takes a holistic approach to serving youth and thereby requires that all target schools/communities will receive wraparound services through parent education and community training events focused on cyberbullying/bullying prevention and awareness serving 300 parents/community members (100 per year). The expected outcomes of the proposed program are that at least 10 percent of mentees will gain knowledge of various coping skills and healthy outlets that are options for healthy decisions, feel that they are in control of their decisions and know how to advocate for themselves, show significant increases in peer support, see themselves as a member of a community, show increases in growth mindset, and demonstrate an increase in understanding of skills for healthy relationships. In addition, 10 percent of mentors will show increases in the five Cs of positive youth development (connection, confidence, character, competence, and contribution), show increases in the ability to practice leadership skills such as advocating for and recognizing the strengths of others, and recognize the importance of and practice skills for mental health and well-being. CA/NCF

Date Created: October 22, 2020