The Afterschool Alliance recognized U.S. Representative Bobby Scott for his strong, unwavering support for afterschool programs and the youth who participate in them.
Rep. Scott was named an Afterschool Hero at the Afterschool for All Challenge, sponsored by the Afterschool Alliance. He was presented with a hero’s cape by Kyle Brewer, who attends the After-School All-Stars afterschool program, and Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant.
At the Capitol Hill showcase, afterschool students demonstrated some of the innovative activities they engage in at their afterschool programs. The showcase featured activities focused on the performing arts, literacy, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), civic engagement, youth leadership and more.
Students from programs in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington, D.C. participated. In addition to Rep. Scott, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Representatives Lou Barletta (R-PA), David Cicilline (D-RI) and Marcia Fudge (DOH) were also honored as afterschool heroes.
“We have a choice: We can reduce crime and save money, or we can play politics,” Rep. Scott said at the event. “We know that from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. children start to get into trouble. But if we have something constructive [for them] to do, that can help… We need to make sure afterschool programs are an integral part of … education.”
“The showcase offered a shining example of the kinds of innovative, hands-on learning activities that quality afterschool programs offer students,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. “These programs help young people discover their passions and have fun while they learn. At afterschool programs around the country, children and youth are growing, harvesting and selling fruits and vegetables. They are learning computer coding and creating their own virtual worlds. They are engaging with college students and business leaders to expand their horizons. Young girls are running their first races to build self-esteem. We need to increase public and private funding so all students can take advantage of the opportunities afterschool and summer learning programs provide. Rep. Scott and the other heroes we honored not only support these programs, but also the students, parents and communities that benefit from them.”
Afterschool providers, educators, community leaders, parents and youth from nearly 40 states visited Washington, D.C. yesterday to urge Members of Congress to increase funding for the quality afterschool and summer learning programs that keep children safe, inspire them to learn and help working families. Hundreds of advocates also participated in a virtual Afterschool for All Challenge from their homes, calling on Congress to increase 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) funding in the Fiscal Year 2017 budget by $133 million, which would give 140,000 more students access to afterschool programs. The 21st CCLC initiative is the primary federal funding stream for afterschool and summer learning programs. President Obama proposed funding it at just $1 billion next year – a $167 million cut from the current appropriation.
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.