Brattleboro Boys & Girls Club to share in $550,000 in federal grant money

BRATTLEBORO — The Brattleboro Boys & Girls Club and four other clubs in Vermont will share in $550,000 in federal grants to fund activities and programs.

U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., announced the grants Jan. 16. It represents an increase of nearly 10 percent over the previous year.

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

The awards, broken down among the five Vermont clubs, include the Boys & Girls Club of Brattleboro, $104,400; the Boys & Girls Clubs of Burlington, $225,600; the Boys & Girls Club of Rutland County, $124,000; the Washington County Youth Service Bureau and Boys & Girls Club, $62,400; and the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Vergennes, $33,600.

“The Boys & Girls Clubs play vital roles in our communities across Vermont,” Leahy said in a news release. “They serve 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.”

Leahy, the senior 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. 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.

Boys & Girls 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 the 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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