05.02.09

Leahy Honored By Vermont Girls and Boys Clubs

Announces Funding From Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation For VT Clubs

ESSEX, Vt. (Saturday, May 2) – Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Saturday was honored by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Vermont for the leadership role he has played in supporting clubs throughout the state and across the country.  At the event on Saturday, Leahy announced a commitment from the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation to support Vermont clubs with more than $100,000 for equipment, camp scholarships and program supplies. 

In 2008 Leahy successfully appealed to the Boys and Girls Clubs America to restore crucial funding that was set to be slashed for clubs in Brattleboro, Burlington, Washington County, White River Valley, Rutland City and Vergennes.  The six clubs - through their Vermont sponsoring organizations -- applied for federal resources through the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.  For fiscal year 2009 Vermont clubs are slated to receive the following allocations: Brattleboro, $300,000; Burlington, $275,000; Washington City, $75,000; White River Valley, $275,000; Rutland, $150,000 Greater Vergennes, $75,000.

 The Bush Administration in 2001 recommended the elimination of funding for the Boys and Girls Clubs, and Leahy organized and led a strong, bipartisan coalition in Congress that restored funding for the Clubs, and to authorize an additional 1200 clubs.  Today there are 4000 branches of Boys and Girls Clubs nationwide, reaching more than 4.8 million young people, including 13,000 in Vermont.  Last year, Boys and Girls Clubs nationwide shared $85 million in federal support, under the law that was enacted through Leahy’s efforts.

“Across the country, the evidence of the Boys and Girls Clubs’ success can be found in the millions of people who have benefited from the organization, said Leahy.”  Whether a young person comes to understand fundamental values such as the difference between right and wrong, the importance of public service, or goes on to a successful education and career, the Boys and Girls Clubs fulfills its mission statement with every individual success.  When young people succeed, we all benefit.”

Leahy continued, “The welfare and advancement of our nation’s young people is not a Democratic or Republican ideal; it is an American ideal.  We all know instinctively that our nation’s strength and ultimate success lies with our children.  Our greatest responsibility is to help them inhabit this century the best way possible and I applaud the Boys and Girls Clubs here in Vermont, and across the country for their indispensable role in this process.”

As well as being a former prosecutor, Leahy is a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and of its subcommittee that handles the Senate’s work in writing the annual budget bill for the Department of Justice, which runs the program that grants funding to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.  The Clubs are represented in all 50 states and reach millions of youths each year, providing school, evening, weekend and summer programs.  The Boys and Girls Clubs have demonstrated their effectiveness in keeping children and young adults off the streets and away from the influences of drugs, crime and gangs.

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