Vermont program receives $1.25M Youth Initiative grant

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The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently awarded Vermont’s DREAM program a three-year, $1.25 million Youth Initiative grant.

Funding will be used to provide peer mentoring to elementary school students in rural communities who have been affected by the opioid epidemic.

DREAM’s mission is to provide supportive social environments to reduce the likelihood that children will engage in high-risk behaviors as well as bolstering educational expectations, increasing personal aspirations, and building trusting relationships through its mentor pairings.

“Through inequitable and often racialized systems, there is a growing socio-economic chasm in resources, life experiences, and access to adult mentors for youth in low-income households,” Michael Foote, DREAM executive director, said. “We’re thrilled to have this opportunity to reach more youth around Vermont and to help grow the mentoring movement, and we are incredibly grateful to our many partners who have helped us further develop this part of our mentoring work.”

The fiscal year 2019 Consolidated Appropriations Act expanded the Youth Initiative’s eligibility to include rural states.

Last year, the DOJ awarded Vermont’s Department of Children and Families, in partnership with MENTOR Vermont, a three-year, $1.25 million grant to support mentoring in communities challenged by opioid use disorders.

The grant is administered by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

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