2007-10-26 / Community

Bloomberg:More Afterschool Programs For Students

Mayor Bloomberg has announced that New York City's Out-of-School Time (OST) initiative, the nation's largest municipally-funded after school project, will serve at least 80,000 young people during the 2007-2008 school year, thanks to new funding that will support 14,000 additional slots in 112 new programs.

The Mayor made the announcement at the 37th Annual Conference of the Association of New York State Youth Bureaus (ANYSYB), which is being held at the Brooklyn Marriott from October 17-19, 2007. OST provides a mix of academic, recreational, and cultural activities for young people after school, during holiday recesses, and in the summer. Programs are located in schools, community centers, settlement houses, religious centers, cultural organizations, libraries, public housing facilities, homeless shelters, New York City Department of Juvenile Justice facilities, and New York City Parks Department facilities throughout the five boroughs. The expanded OST system will consist of 658 programs offered at no cost. The City undertook a thorough demographic analysis in order to identify communities with the greatest need for services. As a result, more than 60 percent of OST programs are located in high-need zip codes. The announcement coincides with Lights On Afterschool, a nationwide celebration that calls attention to the importance of afterschool programs for America's children, families and communities.

"These 112 new OST programs will serve more than 14,000 young people and operate in communities where they are needed most, and more young New Yorkers than ever will have access throughout the year to a variety of programs designed to help them develop academically, culturally and socially," said Mayor Bloomberg. "In fact, 18 of the programs are specifically funded to serve youth with disabilities, ensuring that all youth have the chance to participate."

"Announcing the expansion of the OST system is the perfect way to celebrate Lights On Afterschool," said Jeanne Mullgrav, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development. "Every dollar invested in the initiative benefits not only young people, who can take advantage of tutoring, cultural enrichment programming, and mentoring opportunities, but also working parents, who report that they are more comfortable and productive at work knowing that their children are enrolled in an OST program. In fact, a forthcoming three-year independent evaluation finds that two-thirds of parents strongly agreed that program hours fit their needs by making it easier for them to keep their jobs, work more hours, or attend school."

OST launched in September 2005, with the goal of serving 47,000 young people. By January 1, 2008, more than 80,000 young people will be participating in an OST program. Funding for the initiative is included in the City's five-year financial plan, and will therefore be a sustainable source of revenue for community-based organizations in the years to come.

Launched in 2000, Lights On Afterschool is a nationwide celebration that calls attention to the importance of afterschool programs to America's children, families, and communities. The campaign is a project of the Afterschool Alliance, a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all children have access to quality, affordable afterschool programs by 2010. More than a million Americans celebrated this year's eighth annual Lights On Afterschool Day on October 18, 2007, at 7,500 events, including more than 300 across New York State. In recognition of the celebration, the Empire State Building is scheduled to be lit in yellow, symbolizing the Lights On Afterschool lightbulb. "The membership of the Association of New York State Youth Bureaus, which includes hundreds of youth- serving professionals and organizations from across the State, is thrilled to be here in New York City to celebrate and strengthen our youth services system," said Michelle Yanche, Conference Co-Chair and Director of the Neighborhood Family Services Coalition. "Our organization is guided by the same principles that define the Out-of-School Time system, and we commend New York City on their exemplary commitment to quality afterschool programming."

For the first time, New York City is hosting the Annual Conference of the Association of New York State Youth Bureaus (ANYSYB). The theme of this year's event is "Our Youth: Fulfilling New York's Promise," in recognition of the fact that New York City was named one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People by America's Promise. More than 400 youth professionals from across the state will explore how working together can help to fulfill a commitment to young people. The Association consists of more than 200 members representing Youth Bureaus and Youth Boards, not-for-profit youth service organizations, and municipalities. New York State has 106 county, town, city, and village Youth Bureaus. The NYC Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) is the City's Youth Bureau. New Yorkers can find out more about OST and other youth programs in their neighborhood at www.nyc.gov, or by calling 311.

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