August 2009 – United States Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) received a standing ovation in Portsmouth on August 11, 2009 for her remarks in support of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program. “As we look at this new administration, there is a focus on looking at the data and what works and making sure there’s accountability for what we’re doing. And if we’re going to support programs that work, this is the kind of program we’ve got to be supporting.”
The ChalleNGe program is an innovative national program that is producing remarkable outcomes in the lives of high school dropouts. Over 85 percent of the program’s 100,000 graduates are productively employed or attending school twelve months after graduating from the program. Currently, there are thirty-one ChalleNGe programs in twenty-seven states and the territory of Puerto Rico.
Senator Shaheen’s remarks were made at the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program Directors Workshop. Hosted by Dare Mighty Things, the workshop equips the senior leaders with the skills and knowledge that they need to lead the program’s national expansion. This year’s program focused on “The Power of Leadership in Times of Change.”
Senator Shaheen is a strong supporter of the ChalleNGe Program. While acknowledging that there is currently no representation of ChalleNGe in New Hampshire, she is optimistic about funding. “We’ll have to work on that,” she said, adding that “the work you’re doing is critical. I signed a letter that we sent to appropriations to try to get additional funding for this program because it makes sense. We could have sent a young person to college (UNH) cheaper than it would cost to send them to prison.”
“I have reason to believe that funding will be there in the future but people will have to advocate for that. If you don’t want to do it or you can’t persuade people to do it, then you need to do it because it’s the right thing for kids and it’s in all of our self interests to make sure we do something about the kids who are drop outs to make sure they have a future and are productive citizens.” View related article and photo here.
To learn more about the NGYCP, please visit their website.