The National 4-H Council is constantly trying to improve the lives of its members with multiple mentoring programs and opportunities. To continue those opportunities, the Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has awarded $3 million to the National 4–H Council in support of the 4–H National Mentoring Program. The grant builds on 4-H’s partnership with OJJDP to continue the national effort to strengthen, expand and implement youth mentoring activities. These mentoring activities provide meaningful relationships for thousands of youth classified as at-risk, high-risk, or underserved, including youth affected by the opioid epidemic. In addition, a program in its second year, 4-H Health Rocks! Mentoring Program, has been funded for $1.25 million.
These grants will provide funding to facilitate 4–H mentoring programs in 38 states to keep kids safe, improve academic outcomes and prevent youth delinquency, whereas the 4-H Health Rocks! Mentoring Program will provide mentoring to youth in rural Appalachia in an effort to prevent opioid abuse. These programs, led by Cooperative Extension and its network of 100 colleges and universities, were developed in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Children, Youth and Families at Risk Program, which sparks innovation in community-based educational programs for children, youth, parents and families.
“As kids face a fast-paced and quickly evolving world, the support of caring mentors helps to provide the guidance and tools they need to grow skills they need for their life and career,” said Jennifer Sirangelo, president & CEO, National 4-H Council. “Thanks to this significant grant from OJJDP, 4-H program staff have the opportunity to implement proven mentoring programs in underrepresented communities across the country.”
As of 2019, the 4-H National Mentoring Program has served more than 64,000 youth, resulting in significant outcomes in areas such as family relationships, perceptions of social support, and social competence.