January 1

Governor Urges Senate to Restore Funding for Mentoring Initiative

first_imgThursday, April 12, 2007Governor Urges Senate to Restore Funding for MentoringInitiativeHouse Cuts Funding for ‘Vermont Mentors!’Program Governor Douglas said the contributions of dedicated mentors make adifference in communities by volunteering time to help meet the needs ofunderserved children.  “Across ourstate, many Vermonters have responded to the call of community service bychoosing to mentor a child,” the Governor said.  “By offering their friendship, guidance,and encouragement, mentors put hope in children’s hearts, and help ensureopportunities for the future.” The controlling majority of the House chose to cutfunding for the Vermont Mentors! program—first funded in the 2006budget with an appropriation of$250,000—is a partnership between the Agency of Human Services and the PermanentFund for the Well-Being of Vermont Children.  The partnership awards mentoring grantsand is increasing the quantity and quality of mentor matches throughout thestate. Montpelier, Vt. – Governor Jim Douglas today said the decision of theHouse to cut funding for a mentoring partnership “makes no sense” and said hewould urge the Senate to restore the funding. Thepartnership’s original goal of using the funding to fund new programs and create250 new mentor matches has been exceeded by 43%, which translates to 358 youngpeople being matched with caring adults across the state, the Governorsaid. A study by Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America and Public/PrivateVentures show that a young person who meets regularly with a mentoris: 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs; 27% less likely to begin drinking alcohol; 52% less likely to skip school; 33% less likely to engage in afight. “At a time when our state is working to reduce crime, combat substanceabuse and be sure the next generation of Vermonters gets off to the bestpossible start, cutting funding for this program makes no sense,” the Governoradded. “There are thousands ofchildren in Vermont who need or want a mentor.  Yet at most only 3,000 Vermont youth arein mentoring relationships, while many more children sit on waitinglists.” “Mentors serve as positive role models, and help to set goals, instillimportant values and encourage the development of skills,” the Governoradded.  “And they help youngVermonters become more confident and develop the character necessary to make theright choices and accomplish their goals. I look forward to working with theSenate to restore funding for this important program.” “Mentors are friends who support young people who mayface challenging situations,” the Governor said.  Statistics show that at-risk children with mentors demonstrate improvedacademic performance and are less likely to be involved in destructiveactivities such as substance abuse and violence. ###last_img read more