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January 20, 2017
Governor awards grant to help at-risk youth in Bessemer

MONTGOMERY— Gov. Robert Bentley has awarded a $75,000 grant to help the Bessemer Police Department establish a new juvenile delinquency prevention program.

The Marvel City Youth Program is set to help 75 youth offenders engage in activities that will enable them to reenter school and avoid repeating damaging behavior.

“Youthful offenders need positive guidance to choose a better path for their future,” Bentley said. “I am pleased to support this program to offer a second chance for some of the city’s youth to turn their lives around and become more productive citizens.”

The Marvel City Youth Program is the first police-led school reentry program for the city. Its goal is to increase positive interactions between officers and youth to build trust and to prevent further crimes that will cause youth to reenter the juvenile justice system. The program will be conducted at the newly constructed Bessemer Recreation Center and three public schools and alternative schools within the city. A lead counselor and a student advocate will be employed by the program to work with the children and their parents. Students will be referred to the program by school counselors, juvenile court, school resource officers, school administrators or counselors.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grant from funds made available to the state by the U.S. Justice Department. ADECA administers an array of programs in law enforcement and traffic safety, economic development, energy conservation, water resources and recreation development.

“With a structured program and positive relationships, wayward youth can turn their lives around,” ADECA Director Jim Byard Jr. said. “ADECA is pleased to partner with the city of Bessemer as they establish this new program which will give youthful offenders second chances to build those positive relationships and to make better choices.”

Bentley informed Bessemer Mayor Kenneth Gulley that the grant had been approved.


Contact: Russell Sellers, Mike Presley

For more information, visit:  http://www.adeca.alabama.gov/