Boys & Girls Village receives $1-million grant

Boys & Girls Village, a statewide leader in providing mental health treatment, permanency planning and educational services to Connecticut’s most vulnerable youth and their families, will receive a $1,000,001 grant from the state of Connecticut to create a life skills training center to serve at-risk youth entering early adulthood. The award comes as part of the state’s nonprofit grant program.

The planned 5,000-square-foot training center will reside on the organization’s Milford campus and provide programs that will seek to prepare at-risk adolescents and young adults to meet the demands of adulthood. Instruction in the areas of employment readiness, financial literacy, nutrition, health and wellness, and housing will take place.

“For most kids, life after high school offers an exciting range of opportunities, but for vulnerable at-risk youth, independent living and economic self-sufficiency are often out of reach,” said Dr. Steven Kant, CEO of Boys & Girls Village. “There is a scarcity of available services to help these kids transition into early adulthood, and we want to help solve this problem.”

Eligibility for many government services that youth receive during childhood and adolescence ends between the ages of eighteen and twenty-one. The need, however, often continues.

“For this vulnerable group of kids, terminating support can lead to chronic unemployment, substance abuse, homelessness, and involvement in the justice system,” added Kant. “Rather than have kids fall prey to these issues, we’re going to help prepare them for their next step in life. We know that achieving economic self-sufficiency in early adulthood is one of, if not the biggest predictor for future success.”

The Life Skills Training Center is a natural progression from the organization’s existing Work-to-Learn Program, offering innovative vocational programs that include both coaching and real-world services through three youth-run businesses: Meatball Heaven, Do Me a Favor, and Design IQ & Print, all located in Bridgeport’s historic Arcade Mall.

The grant was part of approximately $30.8 million in state grants awarded to 92 nonprofit organizations throughout Connecticut. The state’s Nonprofit Grant Program assists organizations with the costs associated with one-time infrastructure improvements that improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the services provided by the organizations.

“We’re extremely grateful for these funds, they will allow Boys & Girls Village to continue to provide innovative solutions for strengthening at-risk children and families’ ability to succeed in life,” said Kant. “We thank former Gov. Malloy and the state of Connecticut for this continued support."