Juvenile Mentoring Program


To support one-to-one mentoring programs for youth at risk of educational failure, dropping out of school, or involvement in delinquent activities, including gangs and drug abuse.


Part G of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (JJDP) Act of 1974, as amended, authorizes the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) to fund a Juvenile Mentoring Program (JUMP). In fiscal year (FY) 1998, Congress appropriated $12 million to support this program through project funding, of which $2 million will support training and technical assistance, $1 million will support Big Brothers Big Sisters (BB/BS) operations, and $.9 million will support evaluation activity.

The remaining project funding will support SafeFutures program sites, funding for new JUMP grantees, and continuation support for JUMP grantees funded in 1995. Additional funding for JUMP grantees who received awards in 1995 will enhance the evaluation results and provide an opportunity for these initial JUMP grantees to fully implement their programs.

Mentoring, as the term is used under Part G, is defined as a one-to-one relationship between a pair of unrelated individuals, one an adult age 21 or older (mentor) and the other a juvenile (mentee), which takes place on a regular basis over an extended period of time. It is usually characterized by a "special bond of mutual commitment" and "an emotional character of respect, loyalty, and identification" (Hamilton, 1990).

As a movement, mentoring has its roots in the closing decades of the 19th century with "Friendly Visitors" who served as role models for children of the poor. Mentoring enjoyed new popularity in the 1970's when corporations heralded the concept as one that fosters achievement. Mentoring was seen as a particularly critical ingredient to success on the corporate ladder (Freedman, 1992).

Within the past 10 years, mentoring has targeted a new group-disadvantaged children and youth. It has emerged as a promising approach for enriching children's lives, addressing the isolation of youth from adult contact, and providing support and advocacy to children who need it. Mentoring is also recognized as an important vehicle for harnessing the talents of volunteers to address the problems of poverty (Freedman, 1992).

In April 1997, as a result of the President's Summit For America's Future, the mentoring movement took on a new dimension. Every caring adult in America was challenged to pledge their individual commitment to serve youth at risk. The Summit declared that all young Americans have the right to five fundamental resources that can aid them in leading a healthy, fulfilling, and productive life. These resources are an ongoing relationship with a caring adult-mentor, safe places and structured activities during nonschool hours to learn and grow, a healthy start, amarketable skill through effective education, and an opportunity to give back through community service.

Through the JUMP program, Congress has recognized the potential of mentoring as a tool for preventing delinquency by addressing two critical concerns: poor school performance and dropping out of school. Accordingly, OJJDP is making funds available for mentoring programs that specifically address these concerns. Congress also has acknowledged the importance of school collaboration in mentoring programs, either as a primary applicant or in partnership with a public or private nonprofit organization.

In a recent study of mentoring, Public/Private Ventures (P/PV) conducted an experimental evaluation of BB/BS programs (Tierney et al., 1995). In this study, youth were randomly assigned to a BB/BS mentoring program or to a BB/BS waiting list. The study findings emphasized the importance of carefully structured programs with adequate organizational management, training, case management, policies, procedures, and clear standards. These standards addressed screening of adults and youth, training and orientation of volunteers, the matching process, required frequency of meetings, and supervision of matches.

Although the P/PV study did not evaluate the dropout rate of the mentored youth, it found that a one-to-one mentoring experience made a tangible difference in the lives of young people. The study identified several positive results:

Bullet Mentored youth earned higher grades, skipped fewer classes and fewer days of school, and felt more competent to do their schoolwork.
Bullet Mentored youth were 46 percent less likely than the control group to initiate drug use during the study period. The finding was even stronger for minority youth, who were 70 percent less likely to initiate drug use when in a positive mentoring relationship.
Bullet Mentored youth were 27 percent less likely than the control group to initiate alcohol use.
Bullet Mentored youth were less assaultive, skipped fewer days of school, and had much better relationships with their parents.

P/PV concluded that the research presented clear and encouraging evidence that caring relationships between adults and youth, resulting in a wide range of tangible benefits, can be created and supported by mentoring programs.

While the P/PV study did not characterize the type of relationship that was formed or relate it to the impact on the youth, the researchers did say that the study enabled them to make several observations about the relationships between mentor and mentee:

Bullet They had a high level of contact. A typical Big Brother or Big Sister met with a Little Brother or Little Sister approximately three times a month for 4 hours per meeting, which resulted in 12 hours of meetings per month, and over the course of a year totaled 144 hours of directcontact. For those who spoke on the telephone, as many did, hours of interaction were even higher.
Bullet The relationships were built using an approach in which the mentor assumed the role of friend, not that of teacher or preacher. The mentor's role is to support the youth in his or her various endeavors, not explicitly to change the youth's behavior or character.

P/PV's study (and others) also identified key program infrastructure prerequisites:

Bullet Thorough volunteer screening that weeds out adults who are unlikely to keep their time commitment or might pose a safety risk to the youth.
Bullet Mentor training that includes communication and limit-setting skills, tips on relationship-building, and recommendations on the best way to interact with a young person.
Bullet Matching procedures that take into account the preferences of the youth, the family, and the volunteer and that use a professional case manager to analyze which volunteer would work best with which youth.
Bullet Intensive supervision and support of each match by a case manager who has frequent contact with the parent/guardian, volunteer, and youth and provides assistance when requested or as difficulties arise.

Although there are no definitive research findings to date with regard to the OJJDP-funded JUMP program, several observations can be made as a result of the establishment and operation of these projects:

Bullet The relationship between the private nonprofit sector and the schools is critical. Real collaboration must take place with joint decisionmaking. Problems in implementing and operating the project have occurred when the relationship is weak or not clearly defined.
Bullet Parents must have a role in the decision to involve their child in the mentoring project. Staff must be trained in the best way to approach parents so that the mentors and the project are seen as allies and not competitors.
Bullet Projects must use multiple strategies for recruiting mentors. Because recruitment has sometimes been difficult, projects should set realistic goals for the number of mentors to be recruited and the way in which matches will be made, clearly describing the strategies to be used.
Bullet If the project plans to use university students, care must be taken to ensure that they are 21 years of age or older and that they are willing to fulfill their commitment to the mentees. This precaution will result in clear expectations and as much consistency as possible in the mentoring relationship.
Bullet Single-parent mentors have on occasion brought their young children into the mentoring relationship. This should be avoided if at all possible. Mentors should provide specific times for activities with the mentees that are one-to-one. For those occasions when bringing children is unavoidable, mentoring projects may want to determine how they can provide for child care.


To reduce juvenile delinquency and gang participation by at-risk youth, to improve academic performance of at-risk youth, and to reduce the dropout rate for at-risk youth through the establishment of one-to-one mentoring.


The objectives of this initiative are to:

Bullet Provide general guidance to at-risk youth.
Bullet Promote personal and social responsibility among at-risk youth.
Bullet Increase participation of at-risk youth in elementary and secondary education and enhance their ability to benefit from this schooling.
Bullet Discourage use of illegal drugs and firearms, involvement in violence, and other delinquent activity by at-risk youth.
Bullet Discourage involvement of at-risk youth in gangs.
Bullet Encourage participation in service and community activity by at-risk youth.

Program Strategy

The strategy of the JUMP program is to fund collaborative efforts between local educational agencies (LEA's) and public/private nonprofit organizations to support development of effective mentoring programs for at-risk youth. OJJDP encourages applications from both new programs and those programs with proven track records and a desire to expand their mentoring activities in accordance with this solicitation.

All applications must include the following:

Project Abstract

A one-page project abstract should provide the following information: (1) location of project-city, county, and State; (2) setting-urban or rural; (3) expansion or new mentoring program, (4) age of mentees, (5) type of mentors-for example, police officers, nurses, teachers, or grandparents; (6) number of matches projected for each year of the 3-year project; (7) type of program-for example, afterschool, school-based, court-involved youth, or year round; (8) identity of target group-African-American females, Latino males, or others; and (9) narrative no longer than three paragraphs detailing something significant or unique about the project.

Problem Statement

The problem statement should address the characteristics of the target area that demonstrate the need for an effective mentoring project. Each applicant must describe the community in which the project will operate and document that the target population meets the definition of at-risk youth.

In stating the community's need for a mentoring project, applicants must provide data on all the risk factors that impact youth in the target area. This should include the most current data on all of the following factors: (1) existing school dropout rates; (2) teenage pregnancy rates; (3) the serious and violent juvenile crime rate; (4) gang activity in the target area; (5) juvenile arrests;

(6) the nature and percentage of drug use and sale; (7) percentage of eligible youth in the participating school, community, or eligible population that receive Chapter 1 funds; and (8) other indicators of risk factors in the target community. Updated information in each of the areas will be requested each year of the 3-year project period.

Assurances From a Local Educational Agency

Because two goals of this program are to improve academic performance and reduce the dropout rate, it is imperative that school-related information on JUMP youth be made available by schools. Therefore, applications must contain a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between a non-LEA applicant and a participating LEA agreeing that schools will provide academic grades, attendance records, information regarding disciplinary actions, and other pertinent data on a quarterly basis for youth being served by JUMP and will otherwise cooperate to the fullest extent possible with a national program evaluator. Such an MOU might also designate a school employee to serve as the school's program coordinator. Responsibilities could include assisting with the selection of mentees, advising on the academic needs of the mentee, coordinating meetings, providing academic records when needed, and notifying mentors when mentees cannot meet because of school or other activities.

Target Population

Projects should target only at-risk youth. This solicitation uses the term "at-risk youth" to mean a youth who is exposed to high levels of risk in his or her family, home, community, or socialenvironments that may lead to educational failure, dropping out of school, or involvement in juvenile delinquency, including gang-related delinquent activity. Projects should target at-risk youth in high crime areas where 60 percent or more of the youth are eligible to receive Chapter I funds (Free and Reduced Lunch Program) under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and where a considerable number of youth drop out of school each year. Each applicant must submit information to demonstrate whether the target population meets these criteria. If a non-LEA applicant has an existing relationship with an LEA, this must be documented by an MOU between the lead applicant and the LEA specifying that it will provide academic grades, attendance records, information regarding disciplinary actions, and other pertinent data on a quarterly basis for youth being served by JUMP and will cooperate to the fullest extent possible with OJJDP's national program evaluator. Where appropriate, similar MOU's from public agencies, community groups, and businesses that might be directly involved must also be provided.

Program Goal and Objectives

The goal should be an overall statement of purpose concerning what the applicant expects to achieve with the grant. The objectives should be activities that will help the applicant achieve the goal, and they should be stated in clear, measurable terms. Goals and objectives must be stated in a way that allows them to be measured on a yearly basis. Each applicant must submit a plan for tracking and measuring progress. For example, the mentoring project will serve X number of mentees each year, academic performance will be improved by X percent, gang participation will be reduced by X percent, and dropout rates will be reduced by X percent. Applicants are encouraged to be realistic in developing their goals and objectives and specific in addressing the needs of their targeted communities.

Project Design

  1. Recruitment Structure. Information must be provided on the role of the mentor, the mentoring site, and specific implementation steps. These steps include organizational commitment; mentor recruitment, orientation, screening, training, and support; youth selection and orientation; matching; monitoring; and evaluation. Criteria for mentor termination should be specified. The responsibilities of each funding partner and project participant (LEA, nonprofit public/private agency, business, mentors, mentees, and mentees' parents) should be spelled out upfront. Projects must specify that each participant mentor only one child for a period of at least a year on a one-to-one basis. It is also recommended that mentor-mentee contact be no less than 1 to 2 hours per week.

  2. Recruitment, Selection, and Screening of Mentors. A "mentor" is defined as an adult, 21 years or older, who works with an at-risk youth on a one-to-one basis. Mentors are volunteers and cannot be paid. Only projects using adult mentors qualify for OJJDP funding. Efforts should be made to enlist mentors who are responsible adults, such as law enforcement officers, senior citizens, grandparents, university students, or persons affiliated with local businesses or with community-based organizations. Screening mechanisms should be established to weed out volunteers who will not keep their commitments.

    All prospective employees and volunteers who would have contact with youth must be screened. Each project is required to have a written screening policy that would be implemented with great care and applied consistently to all mentors. For guidance on establishing policies for screening mentors, see OJJDP's Guidelines for the Screening of Persons Working With Children, the Elderly, and Individuals With Disabilities in Need of Support (April 1998). In addition, all projects must identify the policy and screening process and provide a letter of agreement from any entity that will be conducting background checks. At a minimum, the screening policy must require the names of three character references (at least one of whom is a work reference) and provide for a criminal history check through criminal and child abuse records. Documentation of the results of the criminal and child abuse check must be kept on file on the premises. This information must be available on a written form for each individual mentor prior to any unsupervised contact with youth.

    The extent of the background search, in addition to minimum criminal history and child abuse record checks, should depend on the circumstances in which the mentor and mentee will be having contact. There should be a case-by-case determination as to whether the background information obtained from screening should be a bar to participate unless otherwise provided by statute or regulation. A candidate may be disqualified to reasonably protect youth from physical, emotional, psychological, or sexual abuse. A mentor applicant's failure to provide information requested should result in automatic disqualification.

  3. Youth Selection and Orientation. Criteria should be developed for youth selection, retention, and termination based on the project's goals. Parents (legal guardians or custodians of the youth) should be included in an orientation session, and the project should obtain the parent's written permission for the child's participation.

  4. Parent Involvement. Parental involvement is encouraged, and parents should be offered a role in the selection of the mentor. If and where possible, parents of the mentee should participate in the JUMP project. Applicants should include a plan for securing and maintaining parental involvement in the project (e.g., form a parent support group or include parents as members of an advisory board).

  5. Matching Criteria. The mechanism for matching youth with mentors should be described. Each mentor can be assigned to only one youth. Matching procedures should take into account interests, availability, needs, language requirements, and preferences of the youth, his or her family, and the volunteer.

  6. Mentor Support and Training Activities and Lessons Learned. Support for mentors is essential to ensure program success. Each project must employ a project coordinator for mentors to contact for feedback and advice. To the extent possible, the project coordinator should have frequent contact with parents or guardians, volunteers, and youth and provide assistance when it is requested or as problems arise. Periodic feedback from mentors and mentees should be obtained, especially during the first 2 months of the relationship. Applicants should describe how mentors will be trained prior to being matched with the youth and at specific intervals during their participation in the program. This training should include communication andlimit-setting skills, tips on relationship building, and recommendations on the best ways to interact with youth.

  7. Mentor/Mentee Relationships and Activities. There should be a high level of contact between the volunteer and youth at least once per week for a minimum of 1 to 2 hours per week.

    Applicants must ensure that projects operated in secondary schools will provide mentees with a variety of activities, including an opportunity to spend time or participate in the work environment, witness job skills useful for obtaining employment, receive assistance with homework, and be exposed to positive new experiences. These youth should also receive emotional support. Projects involving elementary school age children should include such activities as academic assistance, exposure to positive new activities, and emotional support. Projects should ensure that mentors and mentees can meet in safe, secure, and mutually convenient locations.

Evaluation Methods and Processes

Evaluation is critical to ensuring that the mentoring project is operating as designed and meeting its goals in terms of both the process and the impact on the mentee. The project must collect data on project operations and project effectiveness in reducing juvenile delinquency and gang participation, improving academic performance, and reducing the school dropout rate. OJJDP has funded a national evaluation, and projects funded under JUMP must provide written assurance that they will participate in the national evaluation. Applicants selected for funding under this mentoring program will be provided with an evaluation tool that has been specifically developed for the JUMP program. The JUMP program evaluation tool includes data collection procedures and the national evaluation program requirements.

Additional Application Requirements

Applicants with existing mentoring projects must provide data on the number of youth participating in the ongoing project, the number of new matches proposed, and an outline of the strategy currently being used to recruit, screen, train, and maintain mentors and youth.

Applicants should address how their project either currently complies with the guidelines set forth in this solicitation or will comply with them if funded by this program. Each applicant must demonstrate that it has or will create an infrastructure capable of fully supporting its project.

If the project has been evaluated, results should be reported and a summary of the evaluation provided as an appendix.

Applicants should structure proposals according to the format in the Application Kit.

Each applicant must identify the lead organization's audit period.

Staffing/Formal Budget

Each applicant shall provide a detailed budget worksheet with the budget narrative for each year of the 3-year project period, including the basis for computation of all costs. Whether the primary applicant is a school or an eligible public/private nonprofit group, it is recommended that one full-time staff coordinator oversee the project. In addition, a second individual, either a volunteer or a paid employee, should generally be expected to devote at least 6-7 hours a week to this project. A third individual, whether a part-time volunteer or paid staff person should assist in the evaluation data collection. Allocation of $75 per mentoring match per year to cover incidental expenses for the mentees is also recommended. Program funds cannot be used directly to compensate mentors except for reimbursement for reasonable incidental expenses, such as transportation, that are directly associated with the mentoring program.

Each applicant must provide an Internet address or include a line item in the budget for Internet setup. An Internet address must be available for use no later than 60 days after the award.

There will be two cluster meetings held during the 3-year project period. Applicants shall budget for the costs for the JUMP coordinator and one other key staff person to attend two meetings lasting 3 days each in the first and third project years. These meetings will be held in Washington, D.C., for the purpose of reviewing program implementation, evaluation, and any other related programmatic matters.


If appropriate, applicants should describe what written materials they will produce and how these materials may be useful to their own project participants and others hoping to replicate their efforts.

Eligibility Requirements

Applications are invited from LEA's and public/private nonprofit organizations that can demonstrate knowledge of and/or experience with mentoring programs, volunteers, and youth. When an LEA is the primary applicant, it must enter into partnership with a public or private agency or a public/private nonprofit agency. Likewise, a public/private nonprofit agency that applies as a primary applicant must partner with an LEA. National organizations are not eligible for these funds. Grantees that have been awarded JUMP funds previously are not eligible to compete for FY 1998 funding available through this solicitation.

Selection Criteria

Applicants will be rated by a peer review panel on the extent to which they meet the criteria below.

Problem(s) To Be Addressed (15 points)

The applicant clearly (1) identifies the need for this project, (2) describes the target population, and (3) documents whether it meets the statutory priority for focusing on at-risk youth in high-crime areas where at least 60 percent of youth are eligible for Chapter 1 funds and where a considerable number of youth drop out of school each year.

Goals and Objectives (10 points)

The overall goal for the project is clearly related to the problems of at-risk youth in the targeted community. Objectives are clearly defined, measurable, and obtainable for each year of the project.

Project Design (30 points)

The project design is sound and contains program elements directly linked to the achievement of the project objectives and to the collection of the data for program evaluation. The applicant explains in clear terms how the mentors and mentees will be recruited, screened, trained, and matched to achieve the mentoring program goals and objectives and how other resources and individuals will be used to implement the mentoring project in the community. The applicant includes an MOU between the private nonprofit organization and the LEA. The applicant provides a workplan and milestone chart for each year of the 3-year period with a timeline that indicates the tasks to be completed to meet the objectives; the month in which they will be achieved; staff person or entities responsible for completing each task; anticipated dates for products, if any; and nature of the products.

Management and Organizational Capability (35 points)

The project's management structure and staffing are adequate to complete the project successfully. The applicant demonstrates that the project will be appropriately staffed. Collaborative relationships are established in writing and clearly document the responsibilities of each partner. The applicant organization's capability to conduct the project successfully and its history of working with volunteers and youth are documented.

Budget (10 points)

Applicants must provide a proposed budget and budget narrative that is complete, detailed, reasonable, allowable, and cost effective in relation to the activities proposed to be undertaken.

In addition to the selection criteria listed above, the Administrator may also give consideration to the number of JUMP grantees in a State, geographical distribution (including rural areas), and regional balance when making awards. Consideration will also be given to the population to be served by the program, for example, minority, female, immigrant, abused and neglected, and juvenile court involved juveniles. Peer reviewers' recommendations are advisory only, and finalaward decisions will be made by the Administrator. OJJDP will negotiate the specific terms of the awards.


The narrative must not exceed 25 pages in length (excluding forms, assurances, and appendixes). It must include a table of contents and be submitted on 8½- by 11-inch paper, double spaced on one side of the paper in a standard 12-point font. This is necessary to maintain fair and uniform standards among all applicants. If the narrative does not conform to these standards, OJJDP will deem the application ineligible for consideration.

Award Period

Grantees selected for awards will be funded for a 3-year budget and project period.

Award Amount

Up to $200,000 is available for each award for a 3-year budget and project period.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number

For this program, the CFDA number, which is required on Standard Form 424, Application for Federal Assistance, is 16.726. This form is included in OJJDP's Application Kit, which can be obtained by calling the Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse at 800-638-8736 or sending an e-mail request to The Application Kit is also available online at (See the Introduction for more contact information.)

Coordination of Federal Efforts

To encourage better coordination among Federal agencies in addressing State and local needs, the U.S. Department of Justice is requesting applicants to provide information on the following: (1) active Federal grant award(s) supporting this or related efforts, including awards from the U.S. Department of Justice; (2) any pending application(s) for Federal funds for this or related efforts; and (3) plans for coordinating any funds described in items (1) or (2) with the funding sought by this application. For each Federal award, applicants must include the program or project title, the Federal grantor agency, the amount of the award, and a brief description of its purpose.

"Related efforts" is defined for these purposes as one of the following:

Bullet Efforts for the same purpose (i.e., the proposed award would supplement, expand, complement, or continue activities funded with other Federal grants).
Bullet Another phase or component of the same program or project (e.g., to implement a planning effort funded by other Federal funds or to provide a substance abuse treatment or education component within a criminal justice project).
Bullet Services of some kind (e.g., technical assistance, research, or evaluation) to the program or project described in the application.

Delivery Instructions

All application packages should be mailed or delivered to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, c/o Juvenile Justice Resource Center, 2277 Research Boulevard, Mail Stop 2K, Rockville, MD 20850; 301-519-5535. Note: In the lower left-hand corner of the envelope, you must clearly write "Juvenile Mentoring Program."

Due Date

Applicants are responsible for ensuring that the original and five copies of the application package are received by 5 p.m. ET on July 10, 1998.


For further information, call Travis Cain or Susan Brunson, Program Managers, Special Emphasis Division, 202-307-5914, or send an e-mail inquiry to or


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