Investing in Youth

Senator Bernie Sanders today announced $523,000 for delinquency prevention programs in Vermont. “I am proud to announce federal support for four different Vermont organizations that are doing an excellent job in working with young people. These are organizations that, in their own ways, are reaching out to our youth, teaching them skills and providing them counseling and support that they need to become productive members of our society.”

“One of the issues that continues to worry me, both for Vermont and our country as a whole, is the large number of young people who slip through the cracks of our society,” Sanders said. “These are often kids who, for whatever reason, don’t do well in school, eventually drop out, and then get involved with drugs or other destructive behavior.  The end result is that some of these young people end up in jail and we as a nation lose the potential of them being productive members of our society.”

Sanders cited reports that more than 7.3 million Americans are in prison or on parole or probation, more than any other country on earth, including China.  Meanwhile, the U.S. high school dropout rate is more than 25 percent, while the Vermont dropout rate is about 18 percent. 

Vermont’s 14 Parent Child Centers will divide a $238,000 Health and Human Services grant to develop the Learning Together program that provides family intervention services and encourages parental involvement in their children’s educational activities.

A $75,000 grant from the Department of Justice’s Juvenile Justice Program will got to the Lamoille County Family Center. Another $75,000 was allotted for the Addison County Parent Child Center for their Safer Schools programs.

A $40,000 grant from the Department of Justice’s Juvenile Justice Program will go to Rosie’s Girls. At Rosie’s Girls camps, 6-8th grade girls receive training in skilled trades and technical fields with arts activities and games. The program supports girls in finding their own strength, power and confidence.

ReSource, Burlington’s Green-Collar Enterprise will receive a $95,000 grant from the Small Business Association for a job-training program that teaches adolescents skills in the field of weatherization and energy efficiency.

Participants in the press conference at the senator’s office in Burlington office were Andrew Jope, youth build program director with ReSource; Donna Bailey, co-director of the Addison County Parent Child Center; Tiffany Bluemle, executive director of Vermont Works for Women; and David Connor, executive director of the Lamoille County Family Center.