Leahy: Vermont Boys & Girls Clubs To Receive $550,000

(FRIDAY, Jan. 16, 2015) – Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Friday announced that the Boys & Girls Clubs of Vermont will receive $550,000 in federal grants to fund activities and programs administered by five organizations in Vermont, an increase of nearly 10 percent over the previous year.

Leahy, long the Senate’s leading champion of the Boys & Girls Clubs, said:  “The Boys & Girls Clubs play vital roles in our communities across Vermont.  They serve as on the front line in creating safe spaces for young people to grow up free of drugs and crime.  These grants are a direct investment in the future of these young people, and in the future of their communities.  As a former prosecutor I’ve seen firsthand how these programs make a difference.  Nationwide, the Boys & Girls Clubs continue to do invaluable work, and we need to provide them with the resources to ensure they can continue these step by step, child by child efforts.”

Leahy, the senior most member of the Appropriations Committee and the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee, strongly advocated for the funding.  In 2001 he led a bipartisan coalition to restore funding for the Clubs when federal support was threatened with elimination.  Following Leahy’s efforts, more than $8 million in grants have gone to fund local Boys & Girls Clubs in Vermont since 2005. 

Last June, Leahy held a Judiciary Committee field hearing in Rutland, Vermont.  Mary Alice McKenzie, director of the Boys & Girls Club in Burlington, testified about the importance of providing young people with early and safe alternatives to drug use, and about the role that Boys & Girls Clubs play in communities across Vermont.

The grant announcement coincides with National Mentoring Month, highlighting the efforts of volunteers who encourage and guide the nation’s youth.

Leahy said:  “Mentors help mold Vermont’s young people to become the leaders of tomorrow.  Their tireless efforts to influence positive change deserve our deepest appreciation, and our support.”

The grant awards, broken down among the five Vermont Clubs, include:

Boys & Girls Clubs of Burlington - $225,600

Boys & Girls Club of Brattleboro - $104,400

Boys & Girls Club of Rutland County - $124,000

Washington County Youth Service Bureau and Boys & Girls Club - $62,400

Boys & Girls Club of Greater Vergennes - $33,600

The Clubs are represented in all 50 states and reach millions of young people each year, providing after-school, evening, weekend and summer programs.  Leahy noted that Boys and Girls Clubs have shown 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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