Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan joined the Maryland Boys and Girls Club on Thursday to announce a program that will attempt to alleviate some of the impact of the pandemic on the state’s youth and their families.
The program, called Project Bounce Back, is a $25 million public-private partnership (PPP) that will expand the reach of Maryland Boys and Girl Clubs, so that they will have a presence in every county in the state.
“This global pandemic has been an extremely difficult time for nearly everyone, but it has been perhaps most difficult for our children,” Hogan said. “The uncertainty, the isolation of the past year, combined with prolonged school closures, has been devastating for the emotional health, educational progress and developmental well-being.”
Hogan pointed out that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention labeled these “Adverse Childhood Experiences” or “ACEs” and connected them with health problems, mental illness and substance abuse issues later in life.
The mission of Project Bounce Back, according to Hogan, is to build post-COVID-19 resilience among young people and their families.
The partnership includes the Maryland State Department of Education, the Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth and Victim Services, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Microsoft, LinkedIn Learning, KPMG, Discourse Analytics and eCare Vault, according to a press release put out by the governor’s office.
As part of the program, the Maryland Department of Education is also launching six regional mental health crisis teams to work with school systems to provide crisis assistance.
Hogan said he signed an executive order on Thursday to “make Maryland a national leader in working to address adverse childhood experiences.”
“Through Project Bounce Back, we are leveraging the full weight of the government and the private sector to connect Maryland youth with the critical support services that they need,” Hogan said.
The governor also urged the schools to utilize the funding made available to them to offer services like targeted tutoring, summer in-school learning opportunities and to get back to five days of in-person learning.
“There are far too many kids struggling right now, and I want each and every one of you to know that help is on the way,” Hogan said.
Maryland Secretary of Education Karen Salmon also joined the governor in introducing Project Bounce Back.
“Maryland and the state department of education is very eager to collaborate with this partnership and Project Bounce Back to help prevent adverse childhood experiences …” Salmon said.
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