The names of actual groups or programs in the criminal justice, education and social service sectors directly funded by Congress amply illustrate the absurdity and folly of this haphazard grant-making system. This dysfunction is caused, in part, by the lack of support in the White House or on pork-crazed Capitol Hill for the reform-minded, comprehensive Younger Americans Act languishing in Congress.
As Congress takes up the president’s new budget, I HAVE A DREAM (earmark: $1.5 million) that some day a JADEd ($250,000) Congress will ARISE ($500,000) after another NATIONAL NIGHT OUT ($300,000) enjoying the NIGHT LIGHTS ($1 million) with its usual GANGNET ($125,000) of lobbyists and their FINANCE CIRCLE ($250,000), and DARE ($2.86 million) to LOVE SOCIAL SERVICES ($500,000) that are provided through a fair and competitive process.
It does not take a Girl Scout ($2 million) to know that this Achievable Dream ($1.5 million) would be a HOME RUN ($495,000) for the BEST YOUTH PROGRAMS ($2 million) and KIDS KLUBs ($1 million), and would give the entire youth field the TOOLS FOR TOLERANCE ($1.5 million) it needs to become FREE TO GROW ($150,000).
If Congress wants to SAVE A GENERATION ($750,000) and was Ready, Willing and Able ($1 million) to Do Something ($325,000) for Safe Kids at Home ($450,000), it could Shake-A-Leg ($150,000), do an About Face ($200,000) on its spending priorities, fulfill AMERICA’S PROMISE ($7.5 million) and also help Prevent Child Abuse in America ($300,000) by insisting that SAFE AND SOUND ($1.65 million) grant awards be based on GREAT ($13 million) merit.
But it will take more than PARENTS ANONYMOUS ($3 million), YMCA Character Development SCHOOLS ($250,000), PARENTS AS TEACHERS ($1.5 million), a HELPING HAND ($500,000) or even KIDS VOTING ($480,000) to move Congress from DARKNESS TO LIGHT ($300,000). Real YOUTH LEADERSHIP ($1.2 million) development involves LEARNING FOR LIFE ($250,000) about how to reach GREATER HEIGHTS ($1 million). It also requires an ALTERNATIVE RESPONSE SYSTEM ($440,000) for EDUCATING AMERICA ($50,000) on YOUTH ISSUES ($1 million). The noncompetitive, GET AHEAD ($200,000) at any cost earmarking practices by Congress provide no SMART START ($750,000) toward REALIZING THE DREAM ($700,000) of the president’s unbudgeted goal of Leaving No Child Behind.
If MAD DADS ($200,000) and MADD ($1 million) moms want a FAMILY FOCUS ($50,000) and FAMILY COMMUNICATIONS ($172,000) for Communities in Schools ($5.5 million) that include YOUTH SAFE HAVENS ($4 million), such as the BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS ($74 MILLION), then they should ARCH ($240,000) their backs, and ROAR ($143,000) to the STARS ($1.7 million) their support in a UNITED WAY ($250,000) for the Younger Americans Act ($0). It is a SECURE ($300,000) STEP IIwards ($50,000) ensuring that funding decisions on ADOLESCENT BEHAVIOR CONTROL ($75,000) are made ON-SITE ($500,000), not by those who FISH ($3.4 million) with a sure TOUCH ($500,000) on Capitol Hill for their very own POINTS OF LIGHT ($10 million).
OUR HOPE FOR YOUTH ($500,000), as we TEAM ($675,000) up, is that youth workers can THINK TOGETHER ($440,000) and realize, “I CAN LEARN” ($9 million), LEAP ($540,000) BEYOND BARS ($2 million) and bring SUCESSful ($250,000) TEEN CENTERS ($150,000) to AT RISK YOUTH ($250,000), be they HOME-TO-STAY ($190,000) or lost like so many PEBBLES ($870,000) in the TRAKless ($15,000) BUCKHORN WILDERNESS ($175,000) without a CAMPFIRE ($700,000), and in need of TRAVELERS AID ($1 million) for their PASSAGE HOME ($250,000).
GOOD KNIGHT ($750,000)! You can CALL ME MISTER ($500,000) party- pooper, soft on COMBATING GOTH CULTURE ($273,000). But without CAREER VISIONS ($100,000), then for every HOMEWORK HELPER ($235,000) at the new MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN library ($1.3 million) receiving BIASHELP ($500,000) from Congress, another dozen ENDEAVORS ($300,000) of PEACEMAKERS ($350,000) intent on Breaking the Cycle ($1.5 million) of CRIMES AGAINST CHILDREN ($1.5million) will be well beyond MISSING ($900,000) payroll.
Now is the TURNING POINT ($200,000), so PLEASE TOUCH ($1.1 million) your CAD ($250,000) members of Congress and TEACH FOR AMERICA’s ($1.2 million) YOUTH DREAMERS ($70,000) on behalf of the Younger Americans Act. The alternative to ANGER MANAGEMENT ($172,000) is to SERVE ($400,000) as your own RESCUE MISSION ($300,000) to obtain an earmark for YOUR HOUSE ($90,000), y su CASA ($12.2 million) solomente. Then at least WE CAN ($250,000) provide SAFE-T ($3 million) for LIFE ($400,000) for JOBS FOR YOUTH ($500,000) lobbyists. These JOBS FOR AMERICAN GRADS ($1 million) on K Street, always searching for Youth Opportunities in Retailing ($200,000) influence, say TANKS-A-LOCK ($200,000), PAL ($8.3 million) – getting earmarks is a SUPER SPORT ($686,000).
How has the federal youth effort gone to the McGruff the Crime Fighting Dogs ($6.25 million)? First, most of the national WATCH DOGS ($100,000) and erstwhile YOUTH ADVOCATES ($1.5 million) have de facto national staffing grants and, unlike the vast majority of direct service programs, benefit from the status quo. Second, the federal mechanisms for funding positive youth work are badly broken. A White House endorsement of, and congressional hearings on, the Younger Americans Act would be no JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT ($150,000) and would offer a real chance to highlight a more rational social SCIENCE FOR AT-RISK YOUTH PROGRAM ($300,000) as youth work’s CLEAR CORPS ($350,000).
When it comes to youth services, the typical members of Congress must have ROCKs ($350,000) in their heads. Why else vote $100,000 for a bizarrely named HEALTHY YOUTH PREVENTION PROGRAM in Rock Island?