Senate Judiciary Committee Reports Bill To Fund Boys & Girls Clubs

WASHINGTON – The Senate Judiciary Committee reported legislation Thursday to reauthorize a Department of Justice grant program for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.  The legislation was originally introduced in December by Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and former Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who have worked together in the past to secure funding for the organization.  The bill is also cosponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Judiciary Committee Member Herb Kohl (D-Wis.). 

The Boys & Girls Clubs Centennial Reauthorization Act will authorize funding for the organization through 2015.  The legislation comes at a time when participation in Boys & Girls Clubs programs is higher than ever, and many organizations have been forced to reduce services as a result of the current economic climate. 

Leahy said, “The Boys & Girls Clubs of America provide a positive environment for young people, and they have repeatedly demonstrated over the years that investing in the future of our young people yields positive returns for our communities.  I often hear from parents, educators, law enforcement officers and others in Vermont about just how successful these Clubs are, and how they inspire youth to reach their full potential.  This is not a Democratic or Republican idea; it is just an idea that makes sense.”

Hatch said, “The Boys & Girls Clubs of America have a proven track record of making a difference in the lives of youth in Utah and elsewhere across the nation.  This wonderful organization helps children steer clear of the path that leads to drugs, delinquency and gang involvement.  I know the Utah chapters make a difference by assisting families in providing young people with a safe place to learn and the programs needed to develop the necessary qualities to become responsible citizens and leaders.”   

Kohl said, “Boys & Girls Clubs provide a safe, constructive surrounding for kids in communities across our country who might otherwise fall through the cracks.  The Clubs have proven their value year after year, keeping young people off the streets and channeling their energy in positive directions.  This bill will provide a boost for the essential work they do, and we’re pleased that the Committee moved us closer to our goal today.”

Sessions said, “I’m pleased to join my colleagues in supporting this bipartisan legislation to reauthorize grants for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.  I’ve supported this organization for a long time, and it’s always inspiring to see the fabulous work they do in communities across the country.  The funding in this bill will allow the dedicated volunteers at these centers to devote more of their time and energy to mentoring young people, making their communities safer, and fostering a sense of purpose for those who need it most.”

There are more than 4,300 Boys & Girls Clubs in all 50 states, which serve nearly five million children every year.  The grant program will contribute to services and support the 50,000 staff members of Boys & Girls Clubs across the country. 

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