Now we need to focus on giving young people, especially young men in our cities, better options than apathy, or gangs, or jail.While some mocked the very idea of putting Laura "O.G." Bush in charge of reaching out to young males at risk of becoming gang-bangers, others looked at the bright side and presumed that George wouldn't cut the funding out from under his own wife.
Tonight I propose a three-year initiative to help organizations keep young people out of gangs, and show young men an ideal of manhood that respects women and rejects violence.
Taking on gang life will be one part of a broader outreach to at-risk youth, which involves parents and pastors, coaches and community leaders, in programs ranging from literacy to sports. And I am proud that the leader of this nationwide effort will be our First Lady, Laura Bush.
From USA Today:
Mel Watt, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus said it best: "All of those (programs) that are under the president's ax can't be offset by a public-relations campaign."
President Bush's budget proposal for 2006 contains $50 million for Helping America's Youth, his wife's new project to help children who are at risk of delinquency or joining gangs. Laura Bush is traveling the country to call attention to programs that provide mentoring, character-building and tutoring to low-income children.
But the president proposes cutting $4.2 billion from youth and crime-prevention programs with similar aims. ***
Even some programs Laura Bush has visited are targeted for reductions in her husband's budget. They include Boys & Girls Clubs of America. She visited a club in Philadelphia in February and said Boys & Girls Clubs are "a great example of a community-based center that engages young people through positive youth development." Under her husband's budget proposal, the clubs overall would lose 19% of $80 million in federal funds. (emphasis added)