LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Supporters of a local program to help at-risk teenagers, are lobbying Gov. Rick Scott to approve state funding. The legislature authorized $450,000 for Teen Outreach, and backers worry about a veto by the governor.
"We need this program, it is critical to teens, and with the $450,000, we can expand next year from about 260 teens to nearly 600. It is impossible to measure the impact that the program has on these teens. But we know, this year, we have zero pregnancies and 92 percent of our kids have not been suspended from school," says Karen Turcotte of the Children's Network of Southwest Florida.
The program actually starts with pre-teens -- fifth-graders who gather once a week. WINK News was present as the children of that grade met after school at Pine Island Elementary The students learned about respect, responsibility, and reciprocity.
"I like it here, it is fun, with the various activities, and, yeah, it keeps us out of trouble," says Logan McComas, one of the students.
The Children's Network is urging people to contact the governor's office and urge Mr. Scott to approve the funding. The governor has the power to veto specific budget items, and the legislature, which has ended its session, then cannot over-ride that veto.