National Guard Youth Foundation Honors Senator Lincoln

Washington – United States Senator Blanche Lincoln last night was honored by the National Guard Youth Foundation for her dedicated support of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGE program, which provides intervention, guidance and encouragement in the lives of at-risk youth. The program targets teenagers who have dropped out of school and helps put them on a path to a productive future.

Major General William D. Wofford, Adjutant General of Arkansas National Guard; Arkansas National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Cadet Jasmine Davis of Hot Springs; Arkansas National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Cadet Emily Bradley of Viola and Arkansas National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Director Robin Gifford were all present at last night’s gala.

“I am honored to receive the ChalleNGe Champion Award, but those who should truly be recognized and honored are the men and women of our National Guard,” Lincoln said. “The Youth ChalleNGe Program is only one example of the outstanding work that you do. I have seen firsthand how Arkansas’s Youth ChalleNGe program at Camp Robinson helps at-risk youth become more productive, employed and law-abiding citizens.”
Last week, Lincoln introduced a resolution to recognize National Guard Youth Challenge Day on February 24, 2010. Each year, up to 160 teens benefit from Arkansas’s National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program, and Lincoln would like to see that number grow.

The National Guard Youth ChalleNGe program reaches out to kids aged 16 to 18 who have dropped out of school and places them in a five-month residential program and 12-month mentoring program during which participants learn life skills, gain work experience, receive on-the-job training and participate in community service while working on a high school diploma or GED.

The program has been independently rated as one of the most cost-effective and efficient programs for at-risk youth in the United States and has graduated more than 92,850 former high school dropouts from the program to date. Ninety-nine percent of these graduates have gone on to pursue higher education, a career in the military or employment.