Funds for Mentoring at Risk

David Shapiro, CEO, MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership
May 25th, 2017
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May 23, 3017                                                       


Statement of David Shapiro, CEO, MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership

“Today the White House released its Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) proposed budget. As we move to Congress’ work on appropriations we must remember that young people benefit immensely from youth development, mentoring and afterschool programs. Our elected leaders must fully invest in young people and vulnerable populations in order to create stronger communities. We must also remember that programs that make an impact on young people positively impact all of us. Today and every day we must make a promise that as a nation we are committed to ensuring that all young people are raised in healthy and safe environments. It is not only a matter of social justice, it is a matter of national security, economic vitality, and is woven into the very fabric of our nation’s values and prosperity.

Mentoring programs provide young people with the social capital, confidence and support they need to thrive in their personal lives, at school and eventually at work. These programs mobilize millions of volunteers threading together our communities and calling us to one another and to solutions in thousands of communities of all types across the nation. Mentoring reduces juvenile delinquency and crime, improves school attendance, increases high school graduation rates, and lowers risk of youth involvement in unsafe and costly behaviors such as drug and alcohol use. Investing in young people means investing in all of our futures. Unfortunately, the mentoring and youth development community is concerned about the negative effects cuts for programs in multiple areas will have on young people. Without robust federal funding mentoring and youth serving organizations must close doors to expanding opportunity for young people leaving many of them without places to go for positive, healthy and supportive relationships and youth development. If we leave our young people with no options, we know that they often turn to risky, negative behaviors that could harm them and their communities.

The White House’s budget proposal unfortunately cuts the Youth Mentoring Grant housed at the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) at the Department of Justice by roughly 28%, a program that is grounded in evidence-based research to deliver positive and proven outcomes including social development and academic achievement among high-risk and at-risk young people. In the FY17 omnibus the Youth Mentoring Grant was cut by 11%, this trend of cutting funds for programs that affect young people is a dangerous path to go down. If the White House funding levels were to be enacted by Congress, the Youth Mentoring Grant will have been cut by roughly 35% since FY16, furthering the mentoring gap that currently prevents programs across the country from successfully serving young people in their communities who need this support most.

As they begin their work on FY18 budget and appropriations, we ask that Congress keep the young people in each of their districts top of mind and protect funds serving youth effectively. Without these critical resources thousands of young people will lose the opportunity to thrive and contribute to their families, schools and communities.”



MENTOR is the unifying national organization for expanding quality youth mentoring relationships and connecting volunteers to opportunities in their local communities. MENTOR’s mission is to close the “mentoring gap” and ensure our nation’s young people have the support they need through quality mentoring relationships to succeed at home, school, and ultimately, work.

Contact: Abbie Evans | Sr. Director, Government Relations | 202.688.4739|