Congressman Dennis Moore was praised Wednesday for bringing home the bacon.
Officials from Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center and Lawrence public schools lauded the 3rd District congressman for landing $803,000 in federal funding for a Douglas County program aimed at helping troubled students.
"We are so grateful to you, congressman," Bert Nash CEO Sandra Shaw said. "This was such an incredible long shot. We have a reputation for tenacity, but we have met our equal in you."
Moore said the Working to Recognize Alternative Possibilities or WRAP program, is a crime prevention program. WRAP places social workers in public schools to work with problem students.
"I think if we use prevention we can save a lot of grief for ourselves," Moore, a former Johnson County district attorney, said. "As D.A., I learned that when young people are troubled, and those problems are not addressed, then they inflict those problems on the people around them."
School principals, social workers and a student in a WRAP program told Moore about the effect the program has had.
"If not for the WRAP program, we would not be graduating students we are graduating today," said Dick Patterson, principal at Lawrence High School.
"Schools today need to hire so many more social workers than we can afford," Judy Juneau, principal of Lawrence Alternative High School, said.
The social workers aid students who have discipline or other school problems.
They also work with the students' families to connect them with social service programs.
WRAP's current budget is $338,000 and serves more than 1,000 students a year.
The program is funded by a combination of funds from Bert Nash and the participating school districts and cities.
WRAP program social workers are at the Lawrence and Baldwin public high schools and in Lawrence and Eudora public middle schools and in two Lawrence elementary schools.
Bert Nash officials said they tentatively plan to use the new funding to expand the WRAP program into elementary schools.
The Douglas County WRAP program is 3 years old.