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Helping America's Youth

Helping America’s Youth

“Tonight I propose a three-year initiative to help organizations keep young people out of gangs, and show young men an ideal of manhood that respects women and rejects violence. Taking on gang life will be one part of a broader outreach to at-risk youth, which involves parents and pastors, coaches and community leaders, in programs ranging from literacy to sports. And I am proud that the leader of this nationwide effort will be our First Lady, Laura Bush.”
- President George W. Bush, State of the Union Address, February 2, 2005

Mrs. Bush Focuses Efforts on Advancing Education and Opportunity For Young People

Announced by President Bush in his 2005 State of the Union Address, the Helping America's Youth initiative, led by Mrs. Bush, encourages Americans to engage in helping young people become healthy and successful adults.  This nationwide effort works to raise awareness about the challenges facing youth, particularly at-risk boys, and to motivate caring adults to connect with youth in three key areas: family, school, and community. 

Helping America's Youth Initiative Convened Experts From Across The Country

In October 2005, President and Mrs. Bush convened The White House Conference on Helping America's Youth at Howard University in Washington, D.C.  More than 500 parents, civic leaders, faith-based and community service providers, educators, and experts gathered to address problems facing America's youth and showcase successful solutions. 

The success of The White House Conference inspired six regional conferences in Indiana, Colorado, Tennessee, Minnesota, Texas, and Oregon.  Co-hosted by Mrs. Bush, the conferences provided training sessions and an expert speaker series to give state and local participants best practices, successful program guidance, and lessons learned to apply to their work on behalf of young people in their communities.

The Initiative Has Developed Resources For Caring Adults Who Want To Help America's Youth

The Community Guide to Helping America's Youth provides Americans with resources to form partnerships and implement successful programs.  Developed by a working group of experts from across the Federal government, the web-based Guide includes:

  • Examples of how individuals can connect with youth in families, schools and communities;

  • A Community Assessment Guide that offers communities a step-by-step approach for learning where youth-related problems occur and what local resources the community can use to address those problems;

  • A Community Resource Inventory to track potential partners and programs that are already at work; and a Program Tool that functions as a repository of research-based youth-serving interventions.

The Vital Work Of Helping America's Youth Will Continue Through A New Presidential Working Group

On February 7, 2008, the President signed an Executive Order establishing the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs.  The Executive Order underscores the importance of ensuring the continuity of this successful effort. 

  • The Executive Order will further support communities and youth-serving organizations:

    • Develop a Federal web site on youth that will build on the Community Guide to Helping America's Youth and provide a central location for high-quality interactive tools and resources that help youth-serving organizations create and execute plans to support youth in their communities. 
    • Direct the Working Group to encourage rigorous program assessments to determine best practices and promote initiatives that offer cost-effective solutions for achieving better results for at-risk youth, such as mentoring. 

For more on Helping America’s Youth, please visit

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Photo Essays
Laura Bush speaks at the Regional Conference On Helping America's Youth (HAY) at Tennessee State University, Nashville, Tenn., Thursday, April 12, 2007. Helping America's Youth Photo Essay

Related Links
February 7, 2008
Fact Sheet: Continuing the Work of Helping Our Nation's Youth
February 7, 2008
Executive Order: Improving the Coordination and Effectiveness of Youth Programs

Helping Americas Youth

Helping America's Youth