PRESS RELEASE: Brooklyn Parents & Youth Rally to Save After-School Programs from Closing
For Immediate Release: Thursday, April 23, 2015
Contact: Emma Woods, firstname.lastname@example.org, 646-200-5303
Brooklyn Parents & Youth Rally to Save After-School Programs from Closing
Six After-School Programs in Brooklyn, Serving More than 500 Children, Slated to Close in June if Not Restored in the Budget
New Maps Show Programs Due to Close are in High-Need Communities
Brooklyn, NY – Today, more than 100 parents, youth, and teachers from Brooklyn after-school programs joined Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams, Council Member and Chair of the Youth Services Committee Mathieu Eugene, and advocates from the Campaign for Children at Borough Hall to rally for strong and stable after-school programs for all children.
Many children and parents joined the rally because their after-school program is slated to close this summer. The contracts for 17 after-school programs, including 6 in Brooklyn, end on June 30, 2015 – meaning the loss of after-school programs for 1,882 children, including 539 children in Brooklyn, if $5.9M is not allocated in the budget. 2,300 additional elementary after-school slots are slated to be eliminated unless $7.7 million is allocated to save them.
“Teachers in the after-school program help us with homework we don’t understand. There is no one at home that knows English that can help me with the homework,” said Yu Lian L., a participant at the Brooklyn Chinese-American Association After School Program t P.S. 69.
Valery Alvarez, a participant at SCO Center for Family Life after-school program, said, “When I first came to this after-school I was shy, but not anymore! CFL helped to build my confidence through many activities.”
On the day of the rally, Citizens’ Committee for Children, a member of the Campaign for Children, released maps showing that the 17 sites are located in communities with the highest need. Nearly all of the communities that will lose an after‐ school program are ones where children score below average on the reading and math tests, and where families and children live at or below poverty.
“After-school programs are foundational to the holistic development and wellness of our children. They advance our students’ academic achievement and establish a healthy space for them to learn and grow outside of the classroom. After-school enrichment needs to be viewed as part of the overall education of a child, and the cutting of any such services needs to be met with the same level of concern and urgency. I stand with Campaign for Children in asking for the restoration of the six after-school programs, supporting over 500 of Brooklyn’s children, that are at risk in this budget,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams.
“Last year, my colleagues and I in the City Council worked long and tirelessly with Mayor de Blasio and youth advocates to successfully expand both pre-kindergarten and after-school programs. These programs have consistently proven to enhance the academic performance of our children and establish a solid educational foundation that benefits them throughout the course of their lives. As the Chair of the Youth Services Committee, I urge the administration to provide the funds necessary to ensure that our early childhood and after-school programs are strong and restored to full capacity,” said Council Member and Chair of the Youth Services Committee Mathieu Eugene.
“The City has taken significant steps toward improving outcomes for children in the last year, and it is crucial that we continue this progress. That’s why we’re urging the Mayor and the City Council to keep these 17 after-school programs from closing in communities that need them most, and to take immediate action to stabilize and strengthen the early childhood education and after-school systems,” said Jennifer March, Executive Director of Citizens’ Committee for Children and member of the Campaign for Children.
To ensure that these programs stay open and that the final City Budget supports quality, stability, and increased capacity across the early childhood education and after-school systems, the Campaign for Children has also launched an online advocacy campaign. By clicking HERE, New Yorkers can urge City officials to take immediate action.
ABOUT CAMPAIGN FOR CHILDREN:
The Campaign for Children is a coalition of 150 early childhood education and after-school advocacy and provider organizations, including Citizens’ Committee for Children, The Children’s Aid Society, United Neighborhood Houses NY, Good Shepherd Services, Neighborhood Family Services Coalition, the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, Children’s Defense Fund-NY, Day Care Council of New York, UJA-Federation of New York, and YMCA of Greater New York. The Campaign’s successful advocacy saved child care and after-school programs for more than 47,000 children by securing more than $120 million of one-year City Council discretionary funds for two consecutive years, which then were successfully baselined.