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County Budget Cuts Put Teen Mentoring Program At Risk

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – A program that benefits Buffalo teenagers from low-income families is in jeopardy without county funding.

"Tremendous Teens of Western New York" is a program for 13 to 19 year-olds. It offers a variety of activities that include leadership programs, career and college research.

Diane Greggor who works with Tremendous Teens says it is a prevention organization that works with teens from low-income families. She says the teens are mentored and given the chance to go to college or get jobs.

"By giving them nice opportunities, they can go to college and go beyond the lives their poverty level parents have had," Greggor said. "They become active community members and taxpayers."

Greggor is among a number of human services providers who have been making their pleas for the county keep funding intact for 2005. But if the county wipes out non-mandated funding, the Tremendous Teen program might not be able to offer the mentoring service to the city teens.

"This (sales) tax situation puts us between a rock and a hard place," Greggor said. "We're all taxpayers. But cutting services to the youth and elderly is not saving money. In the long run, it will cost more."

The program also includes homework assistance, team building and community projects that the youth select to lead.

Human service agencies are scheduled to appear before the Legislature for budget hearings Wednesday.