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President Kennedy Announces Program to Fight Juvenile Delinquency

May 31, 1962 - President Kennedy announced today a $12.6 million mass social experiment on the Lower East Side of New York. It is part of a program designed to strike eventually at the roots of the national juvenile delinquency problem. The three-year project, called Mobilization for Youth, will be financed jointly by Federal, city, and private funds. The program’s announcement was made in the White House garden just outside the President’s office. Attending the ceremony were Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, chairman of the President’s Committee on Juvenile Delinquency; Abraham A. Ribicoff, Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare; Secretary of Labor Arthur Goldberg; New York City Mayor Wagner, and members of the New York Congressional Delegation. Using the Lower East Side area as a giant laboratory, project officials will seek to reform the social patterns of an entire community as a way of guiding youth into conforming with the accepted patterns of American life. There will be an Urban Youth Service Corps to provide jobs for 16-to-21-year-olds, an Adventure Corps along paramilitary lines for boys 9 to 16, “cool and jazzy” coffee shops featuring art and folk music, and improved welfare services to “troubled” families.

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