Making the case for after-school programs

Jan 30, 2017

Greater Rochester Afterschool Leadership Summit at the Memorial Art Gallery.
Credit Alex Crichton

City and community leaders joined out-of-state experts at the Greater Rochester Afterschool Leadership Summit, held Monday at the Memorial Art Gallery.

Speakers at the event highlighted the value of after-school programs, and shared ways to fund them.

Out of school time, or after-school and summer programs, have been proven to work, according to Jennifer Brown Lerner, Deputy Director of the American Youth Policy Forum based in Washington, D.C.

"Increased attendance in schools, increased engagement in schools, decreased juvenile delinquency, decreased truancy, and increase a set of social and emotional well-being indicators for young people who are participating in these programs," she said.

Rochester City School District Spokesman Carlos Garcia says while after-school and summer programs have been proven to work, the question has always been how to fund them.

So the district is partnering with several other entities as part of an integrated system of youth services.

"To work with them in order to find not only the best programming available to our kids, but also to have them help us find the funding to be able to fully fund those types of programs," he said.

Stephanie Fitzgerald is Senior Program Officer for the United Way of Greater Rochester.

She says the United Way is funding eleven sites with after school programs for 950 kids each year, and another 18 sites with summer enrichment for an additional 1600 children.  She says that translates to about a six million dollar investment in early childhood through graduation.

Fitzgerald says it will take the business community, the school district, other foundations, state and local governments working together to ensure all our kids are participating in these programs.

Keynote speaker at the summit, Deputy Mayor Carlos Carballada said the foundation for success in college, career, and life isn't just built in the classroom, it's built in after school programming and outreach.