(WMBD) — Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White has awarded over $600,000 to 30 public libraries across Illinois, including Peoria Public Library, to support mentoring for at-risk youth as part of 2023 Project Next Generation (PNG).

The PNG grants provide for mentors to work with at-risk students to learn life skills through project-based, collaborative learning. These mentors help students in middle and high school to help develop skills such as effective communication, goal setting, and conflict resolution.

“I am committed to improving the lives of at-risk youth in Illinois,” said White. “I established this innovative program when I first became Secretary of State to give students an opportunity to receive hands-on experience with the latest technological tools at their local library. I am proud that this program is entering its 24th year and continues to help young students position themselves for success.”

Peoria Public Library will receive $12,500 through this grant program that focuses on public libraries serving culturally diverse, low-income, and underserved populations.

The grants are funded using federal Library Services and Technology Act funds provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.