The event was held at the Friedman, Billings, Ramsey (FBR) branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington (BGCGW). The FBR branch is 1 of 10 partner agencies and organizations housed in the Town Hall Education Arts & Recreation Campus (also known as THEARC), a combined cultural and social services campus located on 16.5 acres in Ward 8 in southeast Washington.
Speakers at the event included Jeff Slowikowski, Acting Administrator, OJJDP; Diane Groomes, Assistant Chief, Metropolitan Police Department (MPD); Commander Melvin Scott, MPD; Kevin McCartney, Senior Vice President of Government Relations, BGCA; Pandit Wright, President & CEO, BGCGW; and Christina Parrish, Education Director, BGCGW.
"Our partners at Boys & Girls Clubs of America know firsthand the dramatic impact that a caring adult can have on a young person's life," said Jeff Slowikowski, Acting Administrator, OJJDP. "Mentors help young people resist drug use, violence, and delinquency and find what is best within themselves."
Mentors and Mentees Share Their Stories
DC police officer Theodore Brannum spoke of his passion for working with youth in the Anacostia community and how being a mentor has affected his life. "Involvement in the Boys & Girls Club gives me an opportunity to work with two of my passions, young people and art," Officer Brannum said. "Some people ask me why I mentor. The answer is: someone did it for me. I came out of a single-parent home. The people who mentored me left a lasting impression. What we do in the club and the way we live our lives are so important to the kids."
Youth also offered testimonials about the impact of mentors in their lives. Cortney Haskell, 12, said the Boys & Girls Club had given him a "sense of freedom and escape from the everyday. From the start, Officer Brannum took me under his wing and guided me. He has given me strength and confidence." President of the FBR branch's Art Club, Cortney hopes to become a teacher. He is currently helping younger children in the FBR branch's art program. "Watching Officer Brannum has taught me how to reach young children in ways I hadn't thought of." Jewel Fowler, the FBR branch's 20092010 Youth of the Year, said mentoring programs at BGCGW have taught her to "demand respect and be a leader." To read more, click here.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, club staff led attendees on a tour of the facility's arts and crafts room, computer lab, games room, education room, and library.
OJJDP's Longstanding Commitment to Mentoring
OJJDP has long supported mentoring programs, awarding more than $375 million since 1994 to support juvenile and youth mentoring programs.
OJJDP's juvenile mentoring grants support national and community organizations that directly serve youth through mentoring, target specific populations of youth, and/or enhance the capacity of other organizations to recruit, train, and supervise mentors. In fiscal year 2009, OJJDP awarded more than $177 million in Recovery Act and other funding to support mentoring initiatives that promote positive outcomes for at-risk youth, reduce delinquency, and expand mentoring to reach underserved youth, foster children, tribal communities, and juvenile offenders reentering their communities.
In the fall of 2009, OJJDP launched a "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" ad campaign to encourage adults to become mentors by learning about the benefits and availability of mentoring opportunities. The OJJDP adexpected to reach 3.5 million peoplehas appeared in the game programs for the 2009 American League Championship Series, the National League Championship Series, and the World Series; the ad also will be placed in the program for the 2010 All-Star game.
To learn more about juvenile mentoring programs, see the Juvenile Justice: Mentoring section of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS) Web site. Additional information about National Mentoring Month is available at the Corporation for National and Community Service and NCJRS.