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Invest in a Summer of Recovery and #FundYouthNYC

The past year has been like no other for New York’s students. They have experienced the loss of loved ones, increased food and housing insecurity, social isolation, disruption in their education, and skyrocketing behavioral health needs.

But this summer could finally be a moment of relief and recovery for youth. With robust new federal resources for education and child care coming to New York City, the de Blasio Administration and our City’s leaders have the opportunity to ensure that New York’s students benefit from a holistic approach to combatting learning loss and supporting their health and well-being.

That starts with fully-funding and baselining the funds for School’s Out New York City (SONYC) summer programs for middle school students. We need a total restoration of $25.7 million to fund Summer SONYC programming for 43,500 children. This program saw a $5.73 million cut in the FY22 Preliminary Budget, which amounts to a loss in services for approximately 9,500 children, on top of the exclusion of one-time funding of $20 million for 34,000 children.

But properly funding summer camps for middle school students is only the beginning. The City and lead agencies like the Department of Education and the Department of Youth and Community Development must engage the community-based youth service and early care and education providers as plans to engage students over the summer months and prepare for school reentry are made. These CBOs served on the front lines addressing a wide range of child and family needs during the pandemic, and must be included in the planning, enrolling, and funding of robust summer and upcoming school year opportunities.

In light of what New York City’s children and youth have experienced this year and the disruptions in their lives that may continue, the de Blasio Administration and City Council are faced with an incredible opportunity to make robust investments in the education continuum – to offer year-round youth service supports commencing this summer that promote not only good physical health but social emotional health and well-being, in addition to addressing profound learning loss. What we do for our children and youth now will inform their immediate and long-term health, well-being, and academic outcomes for months and years to come.

Join us in calling on City leaders to save summer camps and make robust investments in an equitable summer of recovery for all students.

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