Enhanced Mentoring Engagement (Level Up)
2023 NACo Achievement Award Winner
Palm Beach County, Fla., FL
Best In Category
About the Program
Category: Children and Youth (Best in Category)
Palm Beach County Youth Services Department, in partnership with United Way of Palm Beach County’s Mentor Center and Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County, launched the Enhanced Mentoring Engagement program in 2021. It is known to the community as the Level Up program. Level Up offers mentoring opportunities for teens ages 11 to 19 years old who are directly involved with or at risk of entering the juvenile justice or dependency systems. The goal of the program is to match the teens with a long-term, positive role model, make referrals to community-based services, and provide opportunities to continue education or career exploration. Three hubs have been planted across Palm Beach County to serve teens in the northern, central, and southern areas of the county. These hubs have supported 273 youth directly involved with or at-risk of entering the juvenile justice and/or dependency systems and provided supports to reduce recidivism, gain better access to community resources, further their education or career, and enhance social and emotional well-being. Research shows that students who participate in mentor relationships miss fewer school days, are less likely to participate in negative behaviors and more likely to graduate on time.