Media Release from the Afterschool Alliance
Washington, D.C. Jazmyne McNair, who recently graduated from Lawrence High School and attended the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence afterschool program, spent part of this week meeting with U.S. Senators and Representatives and their aides to discuss the importance of investing in afterschool and summer learning programs for youth.
McNair was one of just six afterschool students from five states selected to travel to Washington, D.C. for the annual Afterschool for All Challenge, organized by the Afterschool Alliance.
On June 7, Jazmyne shared her experiences and perspectives on afterschool programs with members of Congress, emphasizing the ways afterschool programs help young people get prepared for college and careers. McNairs trip, who was accompaniedby BGCLK Executive Director, Colby Wilson, was in collaboration with the Kansas Enrichment Network and the Afterschool Alliance. She received a full scholarship to Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where she will enroll in the fall. The recent gradis currently working for the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence this summer, last year she was named Boys & Girls Club Kansas Youth of the Year and recognized at the State Capitol.
I saw my mother getting involved with our local school board and it inspired me to learn more about how to get involved and support my schools and education in general, McNairsaid. Ive realized that reaching out and talking to my elected officials is important. I want the opportunity to influence decisions lawmakers make that will affect young people like me.
The Afterschool for All Challenge is an annual event that brings together afterschool program providers and experts, along with students, to showcase some of the innovative activities their afterschool programs provide.
Students like Jazmyne speak so eloquently about the kinds of innovative, hands-on learning activities that quality afterschool programs offer students, said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. These programs keep kids safe, inspire them to learn and help working families. They help young people discover their passions and have fun while they learn. We need to increase public and private funding so all students can take advantage of the opportunities afterschool and summer learning programs provide.
Afterschool providers, educators, community leaders, parents and youth from nearly 40 states visited Washington, D.C. this week as part of the Afterschool for All Challenge. Congress will soon begin working on the federal budget for the next fiscal year; President Trump is proposing to eliminate federal funding for afterschool programs in 2018.
Participation in afterschool programs has increased to 10.2 million students nationwide, up from 6.5 million in 2004, according to the America After 3PM household survey of 30,000 U.S. families, commissioned by the Afterschool Alliance. But the unmet demand for afterschool programs has increased as well. Today, for every child in an afterschool program, there are two more whose parents say they would participate, if a program were available. One in five students in the country today is unsupervised after the school day ends.