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Youth Leadership ProgramYouth Leadership Initiative Receives $1 Million Grant From Congress

Dec. 2, 1999 -- The University of Virginia's Center for Governmental Studies will receive a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education for the center 's Youth Leadership Initiative, an innovative program aimed at reviving young people's interest in the political process. Recent approval of the grant by Congress and a previous $500,000, two-year grant from the Virginia General Assembly will help the program reach students throughout Virginia and the nation.

"The Center for Governmental Studies is grateful to the members of the Virginia congressional delegation for their commitment to education and to the young citizens of this Commonwealth and nation," said Ken Stroupe, director of the Youth Leadership Initiative. "Throughout our nation's history our elected officials have looked to our schools and young people as a source of inspiration for the continued health and success of our unique form of self-government. This funding is an important first step toward our goal of offering the Youth Leadership Initiative to every school in America."

The Initiative was created to fight the rising tide of apathy and cynicism toward politics and government, not only in Virginia but nationwide. The program's goal is to rekindle citizen interest and participation in the American electoral process.

Through student-hosted candidate debates, an online mock election, public town hall meetings, symposia and public service projects, the Youth Leadership Initiative engages the community in the American electoral process by educating the public and encouraging greater participation in the political process. With its rigorous academic curriculum linked to the Virginia Standards of Learning, the Initiative offers a unique citizenship education program that has been recognized for its success in educating students and the general public on matters ofpublic policy and electoral politics.

The funding will enable the Youth Leadership Initiative to offer its programming to public and private middle and high school students in grades 6 through 12. Currently operating in Virginia schools in the counties of Albemarle, Page, Shenandoah, Henrico and the city of Charlottesville, the program will be available to schools throughout the Commonwealth for the academic year 2000-01 and nationally by 2004.

Sabato is the Robert Kent Gooch Professor of Government and Foreign Affairs at U.Va. A political commentator as well as an academic, Sabato has written 19 books including "Dirty Little Secrets: The Persistence of Corruption in American Politics" and "Feeding Frenzy: How Attack Journalism Has Transformed American Politics." He is also the author of the seven-volume "Virginia Votes" series chronicling all state elections, as well as many articles on national and state politics.

Stroupe served for four years as press secretary and communications director for former Virginia Gov. George Allen. Before that he served then-Congressman Allen as press secretary on Capitol Hill. A graduate of Bridgewater College, Stroupe is currently studying for a master's degree in American government at U.Va

For more information, call Ken Stroupe at (804) 243-8468.

Contact: Charlotte Crystal, (804) 924-6858

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: please contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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