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Helping America's Youth

Helping America’s Youth

“Tonight I propose a three-year initiative to help organizations keep young people out of gangs, and show young men an ideal of manhood that respects women and rejects violence. Taking on gang life will be one part of a broader outreach to at-risk youth, which involves parents and pastors, coaches and community leaders, in programs ranging from literacy to sports. And I am proud that the leader of this nationwide effort will be our First Lady, Laura Bush.”
- President George W. Bush, State of the Union Address, February 2, 2005

In his 2005, State of the Union Address, President Bush announced a broad effort to engage Americans in helping young people become healthy adults, which became known as Helping America’s Youth (HAY). Mrs. Laura Bush led this nationwide effort to raise awareness about the challenges facing youth, particularly at-risk boys, and to motivate caring adults to connect with youth in three key areas: family, school, and community.

America’s youth are confronted daily by the challenges of drugs, gangs, predators on the Internet, and violence – on television as well as in real life. Research has shown that supportive relationships are crucial to an adolescent’s well–being. By becoming actively involved in the lives of young people in their community, grandparents, teachers, mentors, clergy members, neighbors, coaches, and other community members can support parents and help youth contribute to their communities and make better choices that lead to healthier, more successful lives.

The Helping America’s Youth initiative convened experts from across the country for The White House Conference on Helping America’s Youth at Howard University in Washington, D.C., and six regional conferences in Indiana, Colorado, Tennessee, Minnesota, Texas, and Oregon. Mrs. Bush has traveled throughout the United States for more than 130 Helping America’s Youth events, including 44 visits to high-quality youth-serving programs. Developed by experts from across the federal government, The Community Guide to Helping America’s Youth provides Americans with resources to form partnerships and implement successful programs.

The Helping America’s Youth Initiative has resulted in unprecedented collaboration across 10 Federal agencies, including U.S. Departments of Agriculture; Commerce; Education; Health and Human Services; Housing and Urban Development; Interior; Justice; Labor, the Corporation for National and Community Service, and the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

President Bush signed an Executive Order on February 7, 2008, formally establishing the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs. This coalition continues their work to support communities and organizations working to help youth throughout the United States.

For more on Helping America’s Youth, please visit

Latest News
February 28, 2008
Mrs. Bush's Remarks at the 6th Regional Conference on Helping America's Youth
February 7, 2008
President and Mrs. Bush Discuss Helping America's Youth
December 5, 2007
Mrs. Bush's Remarks in a Roundtable Discussion on the Special Needs of Military Youth and Families
November 8, 2007
Mrs. Bush's Remarks at a Regional Conference on Helping America's Youth
November 1, 2007
Mrs. Bush's Remarks at a Helping America's Youth Visit with the Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Southeast Louisiana
More »

Photo Essays
Laura Bush speaks at the Regional Conference On Helping America's Youth (HAY) at Tennessee State University, Nashville, Tenn., Thursday, April 12, 2007. Helping America's Youth Photo Essay

Related Links
February 7, 2008
Fact Sheet: Continuing the Work of Helping Our Nation's Youth
February 7, 2008
Executive Order: Improving the Coordination and Effectiveness of Youth Programs

Helping Americas Youth

Helping America's Youth