As Congress considers reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, local officials across the country are stressing the need for before and afterschool programs, summer activities and other out-of-school time learning opportunities for youth. To strengthen ways that city and state leaders collaborate to provide these opportunities, the National League of Cities' (NLC) Institute for Youth, Education and Families (YEF Institute) has selected nine statewide afterschool networks from across the country to host mayoral summits on expanding access to afterschool programs and building citywide out-of-school time (OST) systems.
The statewide afterschool networks will receive technical and financial assistance to host Statewide Mayoral Summits on Afterschool/OST Opportunities. The nine statewide networks selected include:
"High-quality afterschool programs keep youth safe, reduce juvenile crime, support working parents and provide young people with an opportunity to develop their academic and workforce skills. As state and local leaders struggle with tight budgets, collaborative efforts to create citywide out-of-school time systems can help these leaders maximize resources, reduce duplication of efforts, and ensure quality programs are available for more children and youth," said Clifford M. Johnson, executive director of the YEF Institute.
"This collaborative grant helps tie our statewide networks with the city-based activities that The Wallace Foundation supports - extending the range of promising practices to an ever-larger pool of policymakers concerned with making high-quality, afterschool opportunities available to more children and families," said Gwynn Hughes, Program Officer at the C.S. Mott Foundation.
"We're delighted to join forces with the C.S. Mott Foundation and the National League of Cities to share knowledge about ways to expand learning beyond the school day. Research confirms that coordinated approaches can help cities and states ensure that OST and afterschool programs are of high quality and are available where they are needed most," said Lucas Held, The Wallace Foundation's director of communications.
The summits will convene mayors, city councilmembers, state agency officials, school and business leaders, and community partners to discuss the importance of afterschool programming and how to expand opportunities for youth by improving policies and partnerships at the state and city levels.
Each statewide network will receive $6,600 to host a summit and will also receive assistance from the YEF Institute on outreach, messaging to city leaders and strategic planning. Many networks will hold these events in partnership with their respective state municipal leagues. The summits will be held throughout 2012. This is the second round of states to be chosen for this project; the five states chosen in the first round held summits in 2009 and 2010.
The Institute for Youth, Education and Families, an entity within the National League of Cities, helps city leaders take action on behalf of the children, youth and families in their communities. NLC launched the YEF Institute in January 2000 in recognition of the unique and influential roles that mayors, city council members and other local leaders can play in strengthening families and improving outcomes for children and youth.
The National League of Cities is the nation's oldest and largest organization devoted to strengthening and promoting cities as centers of opportunity, leadership and governance. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.