Two Area Youth Organizations Receive Grants from Law Enforcement

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Two local organizations are recipients of grants provided by the Athens County Sheriff’s Office and the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office.

In separate news releases, it was announced that both the prosecutor’s office and sheriff’s office would present grants of $250 to the Trimble Tomcat Bridgebuilders while the prosecutor’s office will also donate $1,000 to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Athens County.

Big Brothers Big Sister of Athens County applied to the prosecutor’s office for Law Enforcement Trust Fund Community Prevention funds “with the hopes of strengthening their efforts to match more children facing adversity in our community with the caring mentors they need to bring joy, stability and emotional support into their lives,” according to one of the news releases.

The organization serves more than 350 children each year through programs and activities with the goal of promoting safe and healthy decision-making skills and emphasizing the importance of completing school and establishing respect for family and other authority figures.

“BBBS of Athens is pleased to announce that in 2014, none of the 350 children participating in the programming were arrested or faced any punishments through the juvenile justice system,” the release states.

“The programs offered by BBBS of Athens are extremely beneficial in guiding our youth along a positive path,” said Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn. “It is apparent that these programs work and I am proud to be able to assist in the efforts of not only the Athens BBBS but each individual that donates their time to work as a Big Brother of Big Sister.”

Tracy Kelly, the executive director of BBBS of Athens County expressed her gratitude for the donation. She noted that participation in mentorship reduces a child’s likelihood of using illegal drugs by 46 percent and the likelihood of skipping school by 52 percent.

“Caring mentorship plays a vital role in helping children to see their potential for a happy and drug-free future …,” Kelly said.

The grants to the Trimble Tomcat Bridgebuilders also come from the Law Enforcement Trust Fund.

“As part of the prosecutor’s office’s Fresh Start Initiative, Prosecutor Blackburn aims to fight the drug epidemic at the point of demand,” a news release states. “The prosecutor’s office has donated to the Bridgebuilders in the past and is pleased with the work that they continue to do for the community.”

“I am glad that some of the funds obtained through forfeitures of those who chose to commit crimes can be shared with a program with such great goals,” said Athens County Acting Sheriff Rodney Smith of the grant. “The Trimble Tomcat Bridgebuilders do great things for our community.”

In the release, Kathy Trace, president of the organization said, “On behalf of the Trimble Tomcat Bridgebuilders, I would like to thank the prosecutor’s office and the sheriff’s office for supporting the Bridgebuilders and our mission.”