Due to the proven benefits, a myriad of funding opportunities exist, including State Formula Grants, the SafeFutures Initiative and Juvenile Mentoring Program (JUMP) funding. One successful program showing support from funders and law enforcement/criminal justice professionals is the National Association of Police Athletic/Activities League (PALS).
The PALS website describes this exceptional program well.
PALS is a youth crime prevention program that utilizes educational, athletic and recreational activities to create trust and understanding between police officers and youth. It is based on the conviction that young people - if they are reached early enough - can develop strong positive attitudes towards police officers in their journey through life toward the goal of maturity and good citizenship.
PALS began over 60 years ago and now reach more than 2 million youth between 5 and 18 in over 700 cities throughout the United States and the US Virgin Islands. 1,700 facilities exist and finding a chapter (or to start your own chapter) information can be found on the PALS website. In January 2010, Waterloo (IA) Police Department began a chapter and the group meets once a week for activities like ping pong and basketball. The officers also have lunch with their mentees at their school. The group was funded with the help of a grant through the U.S. Department of Justice.
Children need good role models to grown into healthy, caring adults. When adults make the effort to spend time with kids, especially doing activities the child enjoys, the benefits to the child can last a lifetime. Unfortunately, as criminal justice professionals we see many kids growing up without positive adult influence. This doesn't mean we should write them off as just tomorrow's candidates for our jails and prisons. Mentoring allows us to be proactive. Instead of just shaking our heads and bracing for the havoc of the future, we can get involved and make a difference to a child and our community.