YouthBuild USA Awarded FY14 OJJDP National Mentoring Programs Award

YouthBuild USA has been awarded an FY 14 National Mentoring Programs award from the United States Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). This funding will enable the launch of the YouthBuild BRIDGE Mentoring Project, a 12-month group mentoring intervention engaging young men of color between the ages of 16 and 17 from 45 local YouthBuild programs in 38 states. These additional services will complement the 3 months of group and 12 months of 1-on-1 mentoring already provided by currently funded mentoring programs.

Stemming from the My Brother's Keeper Initiative, this project addresses the opportunity gap for young men of color by improving their academic and placement outcomes; and increasing their opportunities to connect with positive adult males of color as role models.

With this award, YouthBuild USA commits to the following three objectives:

1) Strengthen the mentoring engagement of 1,000 young men of color. The intensive group mentoring environment, with a ratio of 2 male mentors of color to every 6 to 8 mentees meeting twice per month, will allow for opportunities to directly address issues such as violence, fatherlessness, gang involvement, and other challenges that are especially relevant to young men of color in low-income communities.

2) Increase the number of male mentors available for young men of color. Many of the participating programs have volunteers and staff already serving as mentors who will also participate in this project. Additionally, sub-awardees will collectively recruit an added180 men of color as mentors.

3) Develop new training resources for program staff. Deliverables will include a ready-to-use curriculum and documented findings from a benchmarking study of best practices in recruiting male mentors of color.

Anticipated outcomes for participating youth include higher program completion rates, increased positive placements, improved retention in placements, and lower post-program recidivism rates. YouthBuild anticipates long-term outcomes to include an increase in YouthBuild graduates volunteering, serving as leaders within their communities, and becoming mentors - "their Brother's Keepers."