Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA), a national champion of youth mentoring programs, outlined initiatives he is pursuing through the House Appropriations Committee and beyond Congress today at the U.S. Conference of Mayors 80th Annual Meeting.
Fattah, the senior Democrat on the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees funding for the Department of Justice youth mentoring programs, is scheduled to address the Conference of Mayors session on Children, Health and Human Services on efforts to raise the federal profile and support for mentoring.
Fattah worked to increase federal investment in youth mentoring this year and forged the American Innovation and Mentorship (AIM) Agreement between the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and FIRST!, the robotics mentoring group. The agreement will provide Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) opportunities through FIRST's innovative robotics-based programming for up to four million youth by 2015.
On Wednesday the Philadelphia Congressman won the National Leadership Award from Big Brothers Big Sisters at the organization's National Leadership Summit in Washington D.C.
"To me there is no greater priority in the Justice Department budget than the youth mentoring programs," Fattah told the BBBS said as he accepted their award. "If we want to cut the costs associated with crime and delinquency, then this is where we should focus our resources.
"As a nation, we will face the costs for not acting and they will be greater. I'm determined to see our nation do more to influence the life chances for our young people on the front end as opposed to paying for bad decisions on the back end," Fattah said.
As part of Fattah's Orlando agenda, he is joining in the honors and offering congratulations to Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter. Nutter will be inaugurated on Saturday as the 70th President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Fattah is Co-Chair of the bipartisan Congressional Urban Caucus.
"Mayor Nutter is a great spokesman for the urban challenges that will rise on the national agenda during this critical year ahead," Fattah said. "I'm proud to have Michael Nutter as our mayor in Philadelphia, and pleased that we'll be sharing him with the Conference of Mayors and with the nation. Congratulations, Michael."