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After-school programs are needed across state

I appreciate the Legislature’s commitment to after-school programs for students in New York City; however, children in the rest of the state are also in need of after-school opportunities. The Assembly and the Senate should support Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s after-school proposal for $160 million in new programs, which would provide access to another 100,000 children.

After-school programs play an invaluable role in the lives of children and families across New York State. These critical programs help young people by providing an enriching environment that benefits their social and emotional growth as well as their ability to learn. Participation in high-quality programs can increase our children’s chances of doing well in school, graduating and becoming successful adults.

The Polish Community Center of Buffalo, doing business as Lt. Col. Matt Urban Human Services Center of Western New York, is committed to providing the best possible opportunities for our students. We provide high-quality programming at two Buffalo schools and one community center serving 300 children. These youth are provided with academic instruction, homework assistance, a variety of enrichment activities and a hot meal, all in a safe, encouraging environment. We are building a supportive, engaged community within the school by providing opportunities for students and their families.

The state has many fewer high-quality programs than are needed, forcing parents into difficult choices between safety and employment and depriving more than 1.1 million students of support for their intellectual, social and emotional development. It is up to the Legislature to make the needed commitment this year to provide access for youth throughout the state.

Alissa M. Venturini

Director of Community Services

Polish Community Center of Buffalo