KidsPeace Awarded Major Grant to Fund New Mentoring Program for Military Families

OREFIELD, Pa., Oct. 24, 2011 — /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Kids Peace the national organization serving children with mental health needs and their families, is one of only nine nonprofits nationwide to be awarded a federal grant to launch a new mentoring program for children of military families. Will Isemann, KidsPeace President & CEO, today announced the award of $570,000 from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), and the Department of Defense.  Kids Peace is extremely honored to be selected as a recipient of this critical funding for our efforts to support the children of our military,” Isemann said.  He announced that the grant will fund new sub-sections of the KidsPeace websites Teen and to establish an e-mentoring program (with components of team mentoring and group mentoring) for youth of military families and their parents. The TeenCentral.Net/ParentCentral.Net Help for Military Families program will address the emotional needs of youth whose parents are deployed and provide platforms for youth and their parents to openly communicate with e-mentors and with each other in an effort to mitigate emotional struggles and avoid juvenile justice behaviors related to a parent’s deployment.

The 129 years of knowledge amassed by KidsPeace experts, as well as the highly successful 13-year history of TeenCentral.Net will allow for the development of a well established, comprehensive and clinically sound e-mentoring where adolescent children of military families and their parents may receive support, mentoring and access to resources to help them cope with the myriad of emotions with which they are inevitably faced.

To date, there are nearly 1.5 million active duty U.S. soldiers, an additional 850,000 in reserves and approximately 1.2 million children of military personnel.  Children in military families experience emotional and behavioral difficulties and symptoms of anxiety above national averages.  Unfortunately, the needs of teenagers whose parents are in the military and may be deployed often go unrecognized.  

“Children in military families experience unique challenges that other children may never face, such as dealing with their deployed parents’ extended absence and anxiety over their safe return,” said Jeff Slowikowski, OJJDP Acting Administrator, in announcing the awards in Washington, DC. “Military families will now have a listening ear and caring support during a difficult time in their lives.”

Developed in 1998, TeenCentral.Net is the groundbreaking, problem-solving website that offers teens a safe and confidential environment to share their questions and concerns about everyday challenges they face.  The site, designed and maintained by KidsPeace youth psychology and counseling experts, provides responses to teens within 24 hours and enables teens to post stories about their experiences and share responses to stories in a “peer mentoring” atmosphere.  Receiving between 1.5 and 2 million hits per month, TeenCentral.Net has registered more than 479,000 young people since its inception.  The free site does not accept advertising and is anonymous for all users.  ParentCentral.Net was launched earlier this year to provide a similar forum for parents, offering counsel and free resources.  Dr. Julius Licata, who directs both sites for KidsPeace, will be the manager of this new project.

The award is in the form of a three-year grant.  Work on the new sub-sites is expected to begin soon, with some components completed by late 2012.

About KidsPeaceFounded in 1882, KidsPeace is dedicated to serving the behavioral and mental health needs of children, preadolescents, teens and young adults, offering a comprehensive range of residential treatment programs; accredited educational services, and a variety of foster care and community-based programs to give hope, help and healing to children, families and communities.  KidsPeace offers services in Georgia, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

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