While for a time things were hopeful as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration built the country’s largest after-school system, things are now starting to unravel, according to the Huffington Post. But NYC’s most innovative social service institution, University Settlement, is eager to maintain early childhood education and adolescent development through their programs.
It was only recently that Bloomberg cut the current after-school and early-childhood services budget by $70 million. The problem remains that without proper funding, 31,800 children will not be able to participate in after-school programs. Until a final decision is made in June, now is the time consider what this could mean to students, families and communities.
For many communities, after-school programs like those at University Settlement are a great way to keep kids off the streets and positively engaged. Over the years data has shown that teens are more likely to commit crimes, drink and do drugs during the after-school hours of 3 to 6 in the evening. After-school programs are a great way of keeping kids safe and promote better academic performance in school.
The staff at P.S. 63 employed by University Settlement has been running after-school programs since the Mayor William Russell Grave administration in the 1880s. The center opened in 1886 and is one of the country’s oldest community organizations, providing at times public bath services and English classes. When Bloomberg made his decision to push after-school programs they were the first to embrace the movement. Unfortunately, out of the six city-funded programs they run, only two have received funding for next year.
There is no doubt that parents, children and the community as a whole are worried about the potential budget cuts. After-school programs at University Settlement are important not just for students but to the city’s current economy.