Grant money will help South Georgia youth - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Grant money will help South Georgia youth

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March 5, 2008

Albany--  Thanks to renewed funding, Open Arms will continue to have an open door for homeless and runaway teenagers.

Open Arms Incorporated of Albany began helping abused children in 1991. Five years ago they began a Transitional Living Program with a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

They see about 200 youth a year with a variety of stories. Some have lived on the streets after running away from abusive homes. Open Arms recently received the good news that they've once again received a $200,000 grant to continue the beneficial program for another five years.

"This grant has really been a blessing because without it, we don't know how else we could help these kids the way that we help them because we don't want to just put a shelter over their heads. We want to provide them with a band-aid. We want their wound to heal," said Open Arms, Inc. Associate Executive Director Rosalynn Fowler.

While in the program, 16 to 21-year-olds learn important life and financial skills to help them transition from a troubled past into a self-sufficient and successful future.

Sanford Bishop also announced Wednesday that Communities in School of Albany and Dougherty County will receive a $200,000 from the U.S. Department of Education. CIS is a dropout prevention program.

The grant will help them with their mentor initiative. Pairing a middle school student with a mentor could make a big difference in that child's future.

"Statistically they have less trouble with the police. They have higher grades. They have better social skills. They stay in school instead of dropping out," said CIS Executive Director Lynn Borders.

Hundreds of students will benefit from the grant over the next three years. CIS will have an orientation on March 13th for mentors.  For more information, call 229-430-9967.    

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