A story of two mentors who helped the young men is in a sidebar in the report.
Helping Young Men Build Meaningful Lives in Atlantic City, N.J.
Dates of Project: July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2013
Description: Staff members of Youth Advocate Programs implemented its MERGE program (Males Engaged in Reducing Violence through Gainful Employment), which included:
- Matching participants with trained advocates who help participants complete the program
- Engaging families in supporting participants
- An individual service plan is created for each participant, tailored to the individual's needs, strengths, and personal goals and the time needed to accomplish them.
- A nine-session course in conflict resolution
- Working with educational partners to address the educational and training needs of participants
- Working with business partners to create a supportive work placement program for participants
“If we could guarantee them that we’ll find work for them, that could provide enough incentive for them to remain with the program.”—Program Co-Director Lamont Fauntleroy
Of the 302 participants enrolled in the program, 117 completed group sessions designed to help individuals learn skills in anger management, decision-making, and personal responsibility.
Of the 145 participants who had set a goal of obtaining continuous employment or self-employment of at least half time, 89 accomplished this.
Of the 21 participants who had set a goal of completing high school, passing the GED, or making substantial progress toward completing the GED program, 20 accomplished this.