AUGUSTA — Some lawmakers are going all in to support Boys & Girls Clubs across the state.
Boys & Girls Clubs of America is a nonprofit organization that helps young people develop into successful adults.
The co-sponsor of the bill, Rep. Bruce White, a Democrat from Waterville, said the personal experience with the club fueled his passion to give back.
“The Boys & Girls Club became a second home to me,” White said. “If there hadn’t been a Boys & Girls Club nearby then I most likely would’ve been on the streets instead of at the club.”
An advocate of the bill said it’s already a national trend.
“In Tennessee, the general assembly established that the profits from the lottery go towards specific educational programs, such as college scholarships, early childhood programs, and after-school programs,” said Fenton Jones, the CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Border towns.
Brian Elowe, the CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Southern Maine, supports the bill and said the nonprofit organizations are essential for young people to thrive.
“So our approach to positive youth development, therefore, reflects knowledge anchored in extensive research that a quality after-school environment can support the social, emotional, and cognitive needs of young people in many important ways.”
However, not everyone at the public hearing was in support of the bill.
Greg Mineo, director of Alcohol and Lottery Operations, said it could cause more problems.
“A new dedicated revenue game would result in a significant number of requests for other games to fund a variety of worthy causes,” said Mineo.
The Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs is expected to review the bill in a work session within the next few weeks.