Washington, DC – The Afterschool Alliance today announced that Gwynette Williams, Program Director of Collective for Youth, has been selected to serve as a 2013-2014 Afterschool Ambassador. She is one of just 12 local leaders from across the country to be chosen for the honor this year. Each Afterschool Ambassador will continue directing or supporting a local afterschool program while also serving the one-year Afterschool Ambassador term organizing public events, communicating with policy makers, and building support for afterschool programs.
“In Nebraska and all across the country, quality afterschool programs are doing a terrific job meeting the needs of students, families and communities,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. “Afterschool programs keep kids safe during the out of school time hours, help working families, and inspire students to learn by offering enriching activities like Tae Kwon Do, robotics and cooking clubs, as well as homework help, physical fitness, connections to mentors, and much more. As an Afterschool Ambassador, Gwynette will bring great energy to the work to build even stronger support for afterschool programs among parents, business and community leaders, lawmakers and others. I look forward to working with her this year.”
Afterschool programs are under intense pressure. The Afterschool Alliance’s 2012 Uncertain Times survey found that more than three in five (62 percent) afterschool programs reported that their funding is down “a little or a lot” from three years earlier. Even in communities where local economies and program funding are faring better, program leaders express significant concern about their financial outlook and their inability to reach all children who need afterschool programs.
“I am delighted to have this chance to help increase support for afterschool programs, which give students opportunities to explore their interests and give parents the security that comes with knowing that their children are safe and supervised, with engaging, educational activities after the school day ends,” said Williams. “Afterschool programs are critical to students’ success in school, to their safety, to working families, and to the nation’s workforce and its economy. We need to increase resources to afterschool programs and work toward the day when there is a program for every child who needs one.”
Collective for Youth’s goal is to build a sustainable system of quality out-of-school time programs in the metro area. These high quality programs are directly tied to the school day curriculum and focus on recreation, academic enrichment, nutrition and cultural activities.
Collective for Youth serves a variety of stakeholders. We oversee the provision of out-of-school time activities to 3,500 school students in 25 Omaha Public Schools. These opportunities span from elementary to middle school and help provide the needed support so that students can achieve success through graduation and pursue higher education for a successful career. Most programs are structured with a community based coordinating agency. Collective for Youth’s role is to ensure that students receive high quality OST programming in a school based setting.
Each Ambassador will organize a major event for Lights On Afterschool, the Afterschool Alliance’s 14th annual national rally for afterschool, held on October 19. Last year, 1 million people participated in some 9,000 Lights On Afterschool events across the United States and at U.S. military bases worldwide.
Many more students across the country need access to afterschool programs. 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.
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The Afterschool Alliance is a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization working to ensure that all children and youth have access to quality afterschool programs. More information is available at www.afterschoolalliance.org.
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