|Wednesday, 26 May 2010 04:05|
The New York City Youth Alliance – a coalition of youth-serving agencies – gathered to call protest the end of after-school programs for 15,000 kids – plus reductions or the end for Beacons after school, help for runaway and homeless youth, Summer Youth Employment Program jobs for high school students, GED classes and assistance to immigrant parents.
“Young people who participate in the Summer Youth Employment Program want a job so that they can buy every-day items and experiences: take a date to the movies, pick up a bag of groceries for Mom on their way home from basketball practice, buy a new toy for a younger sibling,” said Kristina Sepulveda, SYEP Coordinator of Henry Street Settlement. “Last summer, the entire Lower East Side -- from the participants to the small businesses those participants patronized -- relied on their piece of the $67.5 million dollar payroll that 2009’s SYEP was able to inject into the City's economy.”
“Essential supports for New York families are at risk, and the pain will just keep building this fall as families return to school to find their after-school programs closed,” said Lucy N. Friedman, President of The After-School Corporation (TASC).
Christine Zeng, a Colby College student who attended a now-endangered Educational Alliance Out-of-School Time program, credited the program with helping her find her way to college. “Edgies made me a much more motivated person,” she said.
Concerning the cuts to Beacon programs, Robert Abbott, Program Director, Cypress Hills Beacon says he must cut services to at least 250 kids. He said, “What gets cut? School-aged child care for working families? Programs for teens that keep them safe and prepare them for life success? Fitness programs for communities facing devastating health crises? Educational programs for striving members of our communities? How do we choose?”
Specifically, the group urged the Mayor and City Council to restore the following to the proposed Executive Budget for FY 2011:
· $12.2 million for Out-of-School Time Programs
· $8.5 million for Beacons
· $6 million for Runaway and Homeless Youth
· $5 million Immigrant Opportunities