Say Yes for Youth and Save Our After-School Programs
On Wednesday, January 4, 2012, despite the frigid cold, youth services providers and City Council members stood on the steps of City Hall to fight for the restoration of funding for after-school programs. The OST after-school system, which was created by Mayor Bloomberg in 2005, was once the largest and most respected after-school system in the country.
At its height, it served 85,000 children throughout NYC, providing them with a mix of academic enrichment, recreational and cultural activities after-school, on holidays and during the summer. Programs are free of charge and were located in every neighborhood in the city.
Over the last three years, the after-school system has been gutted, just at a time when families and children need them the most. Currently, there are 418 programs serving approximately 53,000 children in New York Cit. In September of this year, when more than one million children return to school, there will only be 27,000 available slots for after school and 220 OST after-school programs. Because of this, families will have to scramble to find a safe and engaging place for their children to go after-school – just at a time when parents are struggling to find and keep work. After-school staff will lose their jobs. And, most importantly, children and youth will lose the engaging and enriching programs that they love.
On behalf of the thousands of young people across the City, we implore the City to make restorations for these programs.
The Children’s Aid Society has 16 city-funded OST after-school programs in community centers and community schools. We serve 2,280 children in these programs. Read the press release from the New York City Youth Alliance here.