Rep. Denham Joins Bipartisan National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Caucus
U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) has joined the Congressional Youth ChalleNGe Caucus, a bipartisan caucus dedicated to providing a forum to learn more about the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program (NGYCP) and work towards solutions to address the high school dropout epidemic. Rep. Denham joins 20 Republican and 26 Democrat members of the caucus, chaired by Reps. Grace Napolitano (D-CA), David McKinley (R-WV) and Salud Carbajal (D-CA).
“The ChalleNGe program offers thousands of at-risk teens who have dropped out of high school with unparalleled opportunities,” said Rep. Denham. “Especially following my tour of the Discovery ChalleNGe Academy and seeing how this program fosters critical skills and encourages the youth of San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties, I look forward to working with my colleagues to continue the conversation of what more we can do to assist future generations in their educational endeavors and life pursuits.”
“Congressman Denham’s support to the Discovery ChalleNGe Academy has been nothing short of phenomenal,” said Colonel Steven Buethe, Chief of Staff for California National Guard Youth and Community Programs Task Force. “He took the time to meet and talk to cadets who have been offered this second chance and are now motivated to become productive citizens. He understands the value of the ChalleNGe programs in overcoming the dropout crisis and vowed his support by joining the Congressional Youth Challenge Caucus.”
The Congressional Youth ChalleNGe Caucus provides an avenue for lawmakers to discuss how to strengthen and sustain the NGYCP as well as seek solutions to assist at-risk teens. Since 1993, when Congress mandated the National Guard to create a federal program to address high school dropout rate, the NGYCP has helped over 131,000 kids who have dropped out of high school by providing the assistance, training and opportunity to earn their high school diploma or GED at a NYGCP academy. Over the course of a 22-week residential phase and at no cost to the young person or their family, students are immersed in a high degree of education while learning life skills, developing discipline and cultivating leadership under the guidance and instruction of the National Guard cadre, teachers, parent volunteers and mentors.
Rep. Denham toured the Discovery ChalleNGe Academy, located in Lathrop, Calif. in March, where he met with students, sat in on classes and observed exercises. The Discovery ChalleNGe Academy, which welcomed its inaugural class of 116 cadets in January 2017, is a partnership between the California National Guard and San Joaquin County Office of Education for youth between the ages of 16 and 18, who have dropped out, are at-risk of dropping out or are credit deficient in high school.