WASHINGTON, Aug. 28, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA), Congressional champion and national leader in youth mentoring, announces that Big Brothers Big Sisters Southeastern Pennsylvania will receive $400,000 for a new tri-state mentoring program called Big Advocates.
Fattah said the grant comes from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, a primary source of federal resources for mentoring. Fattah is the top Democratic Appropriator for Justice and its mentoring programs as Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and related agencies.
Big Advocates, under this demonstration grant, will help train and support Big Brothers and Big Sisters to become advocates for their Little Brothers and Sisters and to sharpen their role as advisors for the critical life choices their mentees will face. The program will improve BBBS matching efforts to ensure that matches are driven by each youth's preferences, needs and interests.
Big Advocates will operate in Southeast Pennsylvania, three New Jersey counties and the state of Delaware, under direction of BBBS Southeastern PA.
In addition to the Department of Justice grant for BBBS, Fattah, a longtime champion for drug courts, announced that DOJ's Bureau of Justice Assistance has awarded $200,000 for adult drug courts statewide to the Pennsylvania Courts.
As a mentoring champion, Fattah recently received an award for mentoring leadership and advocacy at the Big Brothers Big Sisters 2012 National Leadership Summit in Washington D.C.
"To me there is no greater priority in the Justice Department budget than its youth mentoring programs," Fattah said. "If we want to cut the costs associated with crime and delinquency, then this is where we need to focus our resources. The cost to our nation for not acting will be greater. I'm determined to see our nation do more to influence the life chances for our young people on the front end as opposed to paying for bad decisions on the back end," Fattah said.
Fattah has been an advocate for BBBS, which has national headquarters in Philadelphia, plus 350 local agencies and 600,000 volunteer mentors, mentees and families, including mentoring relationships with children of single, low-income or incarcerated parents and with sons and daughters of military personnel.
The Congressman has also worked closely with other youth and mentoring organizations. He forged a historic partnership between the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and FIRST! the robotics mentoring organization. Through his efforts they formed the American Innovation and Mentorship (AIM) Agreement to provide Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) opportunities through FIRST's innovative robotics-based programming at 3,000 Boys & Girls Clubs nationwide by 2015.
SOURCE Office of Congressman Chaka Fattah