October 16, 2014


Sue Walitsky (Cardin) 202-224-4524

Matt Jorgenson (Mikulski) Alanna Wellspeak 202-228-1122

Cardin, Mikulski Announce $1 Million Federal Grant for Mentoring Program in Howard County

BALTIMORE – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-Md.) today announced that theU.S. Dream Academy has been awarded a $1,000,000 grant through the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) program. The Dream Academy works with at-risk youth to improve academic performance, diminish school drop-out rates, and reduce juvenile delinquency and gang participation through mentoring. The grant will be used to enhance group and one-on-one mentoring services for at-risk and underserved youth in grades 3-8. The Dream Academy will design, deliver and evaluate six evidence-based mentoring enhancements across all program sites to mentoring practices and outcomes for the target youth population.

“Every child needs a fighting chance to succeed. The U.S. Dream Academy is providing Maryland at-risk youth with the tools and opportunities they need to unlock their full potential,” said Senator Cardin. “At a time when our global competitors are investing in their young people, America must remain committed to investing in all our children, especially our most vulnerable. Federal partnerships with grassroots organizations are helping our children achieve the brighter future they deserve.”

“As a social worker, I’ve seen first-hand the importance mentoring programs have in the life and development of children who have nowhere else to turn,” said Senator Mikulski, Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which funds DOJ. “I believe in putting funds in the federal checkbook to create investments in organizations like the U.S. Dream Academy, which provides mentoring programs to help children learn and grow in a safe environment. By supporting at-risk children and families through mentoring, we are building up communities and laying the foundation for successful futures.”

“We are excited to partner with OJJDP to continue the critical work of mentoring students who live in high risk communities to help build protective factors in their lives.  We see first-hand how programs like ours impact student’s lives for the better and appreciate the critical support of our congressional leaders, to ensure resources are getting to the communities of greatest need,” said Wintley Phipps, Founder and CEO of the U.S. Dream Academy.

The Multi-State Mentoring grant provides funding to support established mentoring organizations in their efforts to bolster their existing mentoring activities within local chapters or sub-awardees in five or more states to reduce juvenile delinquency, drug abuse, truancy, and other problem and high-risk behaviors. FY 2014 funding will address the factors that can lead to or serve as a catalyst for delinquency or other problem behaviors in underserved youth, including youth in high-risk environments, children of incarcerated parents and tribal youth. This grant was administered based on funding allocated by the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee, which Senator Mikulski chairs.

The U.S. Dream Academy, headquartered in Columbia, Md., was the first national organization to provide an integrated after-school and mentoring program for children of incarcerated parents. The program serves more than 700 students nationally and aims to break the cycle of intergenerational incarceration by providing students with academic, social and values enrichment through supportive mentoring and the use of technology.