Rally in Harrisburg supports quality after school programs

Families, program providers, educators and youth rallied on the Capitol steps on March 29th in support of quality afterschool programs.

Officials say enrollment in afterschool programs decreases high school dropout rates, teen pregnancy, substance use and crime. It keeps them in a safe environment, where children have the opportunity to explore careers, participate in STEM programs and expand their learning.

However, for every youth enrolled in an afterschool program in Pennsylvania, four more children are waiting to get in. Organizers say there needs to be more investment from the state.

“Find ways to support afterschool programming at the state level,” Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network Associate Director Steven Williams said. “That can come in multiple forms, whether it’s funding or participating in, you know, showing up to programs and meeting with the students who participate in them, talking with the providers. There’s a whole host of ways that they can support afterschool and we really want them out there and see the programs that are benefiting their youth.”

Organizers hope the rally sends a message to legislators to see the value in afterschool programs and focus on the services they provide.

From Channel 21 Harrisburg