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Feature Story

March 2013


YMCA of the USA Supports Afterschool Programs Legislation

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YMCA of the USA, the national resource office for the nation's 2,700 YMCAs, joined leading afterschool and youth development advocacy organizations in support of the "Afterschool for America's Children Act." Introduced by U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), this bipartisan legislation would strengthen the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative—the nation's only federal funding stream for afterschool programs.

The Afterschool for America's Children Act supports the innovative advanced occurring before school, after school and in summer learning programs by:

  • Enhancing school-community partnerships to include sharing of data and resources.
  • Promoting professional development of program staff.
  • Calling out STEM, physical activity and nutrition education as allowable uses.
  • Providing accountability measures that show student progress over time toward meeting indicators of student success.

"As the nation's largest nonprofit provider of quality afterschool programs, we applaud the sponsors of this bill for seeking to strengthen the 21st CCLC initiative," said Neal Denton, YMCA of the USA's senior vice president/chief government affairs officer. "Our commitment to nurturing the potential of every child and teen means supporting a variety of strategies that seek to improve the academic achievement of students, particularly those in high-poverty and low-performing schools. These strategies include afterschool, Expanded Learning Time, community schools and other effective approaches being implemented across the country."

Current 21st CCLC funding levels are insufficient to meet the afterschool needs of children and families in our communities. Current levels cannot maintain existing afterschool participation/enrollment and support additional strategies that seek to provide students with academic enrichment opportunities. Efforts to support Expanded Learning Time should be accompanied by additional funds or funding streams. This will ensure that the 1 million children currently participating in safe and supervised afterschool programs supported by 21st CCLC will continue to benefit from afterschool programming.

As a leading nonprofit committed to youth development, the Y has a long history of encouraging and supporting children in building literacy, improving academic engagement and performance, skill building, accessing higher education and employment training.

Learn more at www.ymca.net.