Montgomery County executive James Gleason has asked the County Council for and emergency appropriation of $243,840 in order that the summer Outreach program - designed to help the county's young people - might be able to operate on a year-round basis.
The Council this week scheduled a public hearing on Gleason's request for next Tuesday at 2:45 p.m. The Council will likely vote on the issue immediately after the hearing, said Arthur Spengler, the Council's legislative fiscal officer.
Members of the Council indicated support of the program last Friday during an informal meeting with Gleason, Outreach founder and coordinator Charlie Steinbraker, a dozen Out-reach workers and two police officers involved in the program.
"It's a very effective program and it's been a great assistance in bringing a degree . . . of contact with a lot of young people who have never been reached before," Gleason said after the Friday session. "It also gives us feedback on a lot of our other programs. It is really the first program I know of that gives recognition to the fact this s is a way to reach people."
"I suspect there will be some strong support (in the Council)," said Council member Norman Christeller Friday. "I think Gleason is right. It's important to us to understand the effectiveness of our other programs."
Council president John Menke added, "The Council has always been impressed with the quality of the program."
The funding, which includes a $213,840 contribution to the recreation fund, and $30,000 to the motor pool fund, would allow the recreation department program to continue on a limited basis. Fourteen of the 24 summer workers would continue on a year-round basis, said Steinbraker. The operation of Outreach this summer cost$60,000, Steinbraker estimated.
The additional money which Gleason requested would come from the local general fund surplus which has not yet been appropriated.
The Outreach program was established in the summer of 1976 in response to a request by Gleason for a task force to examine the growing problems of youth in Montgomery County.
The initial goal of the program was to deal with an increase of disorderly groups in county shopping centers and other public places, said Steinbraker. Now, Outreach workers will go anyplace where they can "identify kids with special problems and channel them into the right programs," Stenibraker added.
During its two summers operation, Outreach has assigned 12 pairs of workers to different areas around the county. The pairs consist of a man and a woman, and, as often as possible, are biracial.
"We try to get kids away from non-productive behavior and into functional types of activities, to show them there's something else to life than hanging out," said Susan Allison, a teacher at Rockville High School, who like a vast majority of the Outreach workers is employed by the recreation department only in the summers.
Each Outreach team has its own approach. But all strive to develop a rapport and trust with the youth in their areas and involve them in group activities scuh as movies, concerts, camping and beach trips and vists to museums. The only regulation is that there be no drug or alcohol use during these exercises.
The workers try to find activities which are free or low cost. When costs are involved in the outings, participants pay part or all of the expenses depending on income.