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Senator's "JUMP" Program Supports Mentoring Of At Risk Youth

 WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) announced the introduction of the Juvenile Mentoring Program (JUMP) Act of 2010 to restore much-needed funding for at-risk youth. The proposal would reauthorize a program originally created by the senator in 1992.

“Mentoring programs provide young children and teenagers with the help and guidance they need to discover their full potential and achieve their goals,” said Lautenberg, “This bill would ensure that our young people have access to mentors that will help them make the right choices to stay in school and stay out of trouble. An investment in mentoring is an investment in our nation’s and our children’s future.”

In response to a question from Sen. Lautenberg about the JUMP Act in a recent hearing, Attorney General Eric Holder stated, “We have to understand that crime fighting happens not only by police officers and by prosecutors. Crime fighting happens in schools, it happens through mentoring.”

“The Juvenile Mentoring Program (JUMP) Act would ensure Department of Justice support for quality mentoring services for children facing difficult circumstances. JUMP recognizes that these mentoring programs are a unique and proven way to reduce juvenile delinquency,” said Karen J. Mathis, President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, the largest mentoring organization in the United States.

The JUMP Act of 2010 would authorize $150 million per year for Department of Justice (DOJ) youth mentoring grants. The funding would be available to state and local educational agencies as well as national, regional and local non-profit organizations to implement and operate mentoring programs for at-risk children. The goal is to reduce delinquency and dropout rates, and improve academic performance among children ages 5 to 18.

Studies show that nearly 17.6 million young people could benefit from mentoring in the United States, but only three million of these children are currently matched with a mentor. 

Last night, Lautenberg was awarded an Honorary Alumnus award by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America for his work on the JUMP Act. The JUMP Act is co-sponsored by Senators Roland W. Burris (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ). 

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