National funding could hurt local mentoring programs

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CHAMPAIGN-URBANA  — Mentors can make a huge impact on young peoples’ lives, but the proposed White House budget could mean huge cuts for the programs that put them together.

The CU One to One mentoring program is concerned about what this means at a national level. Their program helps more than 600 kids every year in Champaign and Urbana schools. They’re paired up with adults in the community during their school day, to build a trusting relationship that can help the students succeed.

According to the National Mentoring Partnership, at risk kids who have a mentor are 55% more likely to go to college, and 52% less likely to skip class or have a bad attitude about school.

This CU program is funded entirely by the school districts, but the sweeping cuts to domestic programs in the proposed White House budget has them worried. They rely on federal research to help them improve their programs and build up similar ones across the country.

Congress will have to  determine the funding for mentor-specific grants. That currently gets $90 million dollars; advocates were hoping for $120 million.

Organizers at CU One to One are pushing for people to call or write their lawmakers and ask for that funding to be considered in the national budget. They’re even directing people to a site where they can sign a ready-made letter to their Congressmen. For more information, click here.

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