An email from MANY today really shook me up. It announced the results of the budget cutting that is going on in the U.S. House of Representatives. The budget they passed includes cutting $100 billion dollars compared from the President's FY 2011 proposed budget. These cuts include, "zeroing out of the following youth programs: Mentoring Children of Prisoners, YouthBuild, Teen Pregnancy Prevention Community Grants, Teach for America, and State Grants for Incarcerated Youth. It also significantly cuts the Corporation for National and Community Service (the agency that runs the AmeriCorps programs), Juvenile Justice programs, Head Start, and 21st Century Learning Centers".
For a complete list of cuts and reductions, you can click here: http://appropriations.house.gov/_files/ProgramCutsFY2011ContinuingResolution.pdf
The H.R.1 bill now goes to the Senate and that is where the battle to serve at-risk and other youth is going to be fought. In all the years of publishing this blog, I have never mounted a soapbox in support of political agenda, but this time it feels necessary to take a stand. While I very much understand the need for fiscal restraint and deficit reduction, and don't want to see taxpayer dollars wasted on bad programs, the complete elimination of successful core safety net programs, for short term (and perhaps political) impact, seems too drastic and very shortsighted.
Congress is currently on recess and will return to Washington DC next week. When they return, the Senate will vote on this bill before it goes to the President. At that time, important decisions will be made which will have profound impact on millions of people going forward. If you care about the lives of children served by these programs, if you are concerned about the hidden costs (community violence, incarceration, damaged families, reduced literacy . . . etc.) that will certainly accrue when these populations are not served, if you care about the quality of life for everyone in this country, then now would be a good time to let your elected officials know how you feel. You can read the MANY email here and in it find guidance on how to approach your elected officials. IF you care, NOW is the time to act. Contact the youth/children staff members in your Representatives’ AND Senators' Washington, DC offices this week.
The Corporation for National and Community Service.
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