Children’s Aid Youth Stand Up for After-School Programs, Present Petitions to Council Member Jackson

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Photos and Text by Keyla Espinal

On June 8th, in recognition of the New York City Youth Alliance and The Coalition for Out-of-School Time's "Last Symbolic Day of After-School," students from the Mirabal Sisters Campus, a Children’s Aid Society Community School in Washington Heights, paid a visit to Council Member Robert Jackson's district office. Their visit was part of a larger advocacy mission to save after-school programming. Mayor Bloomberg and the City Council are currently negotiating the budget, which proposes to cut $23 million in Out-of-School-Time (OST) funding. Such drastic reductions would eliminate 16,000 after-school slots.

Children's Aid students presented signed petitions to Ms. Susan M. Russell, Chief of Operations and General Counsel and Ms. Shellie Williams, Scheduler for Councilmember Jackson. The youth also shared their feelings about their after-school program and the positive changes it has had on their lives. The cooking club, a component of Mirabal Sisters Campus after-school program, is an example of how this very important service is providing students with critical life skills for adulthood and possibly even a career in the culinary arts.

The visit to Council Member Jackson’s office is part of a larger movement that the Coalition has had in place for months now. Students from all around the New York City who take part in Out-of-School Time programming such as after-school and Beacon, are going to their local Council Member's office to drop off petitions, show the importance of afterschool programs and thank those council members who have been tireless OST advocates and supporters.

After-school programs provide enriching opportunities for young people and help working families. Please visit our Take Action Page to learn how you can contact the Mayor and City Council to demand that the cuts be restored before the June 30th budget deadline.