Flushing YMCA Rally For Afterschool Programs
Hundreds of children, parents, business and community leaders came together on October 18, at a Lights On Afterschool rally at P.S. 120, located at 58-01 136th St., Flushing, to celebrate the achievements of afterschool students and draw attention to the need for more afterschool programs to serve the millions of children nationwide who are unsupervised and at risk each weekday afternoon. Flushing YMCA Afterschool Director Karina James and Site Director John Cavalcante received citations from state Senator Toby Ann Stavisky and Assemblymember Grace Meng’s representative Ido Shargol. The gathering is one of 7,500 such events across the nation emphasizing the importance of keeping the “lights on” and the doors open for afterschool programs. Speakers at the rally warned that tight budgets are endangering afterschool programs in Flushing and around the country, forcing many to cut back or even close their doors. As at other Lights On Afterschool rallies across the nation, Flushing Y afterschool supporters urged lawmakers not to deny or divert funding needed for afterschool programs.
Flushing YMCA Executive Director William Nelson stated, “It is a powerful reminder that afterschool programs keep children safe, inspire them to learn, and relieve working parents of worries about how their children spend their afternoons. The Flushing Y helps support the community by providing afterschool programs throughout the Flushing, Whitestone and Bayside communities.”
The Flushing Y now serves thousands of children, providing homework assistance, mentoring, tutoring, and classes and clubs in sports, recreation, mathematics, chess, and dozens of other subjects. The program is a collaboration of the school system, YMCA, and other organizations.
A significant body of research demonstrates that students who attend afterschool programs regularly are more likely to improve their grades, tests scores and overall academic behavior. More than 15 million school-age children – more than one in four kids in the United States – are unsupervised after the school day ends. The parents of 18 million children say they would enroll their kids in afterschool programs – if programs were available.