Afterschool Programs Can Be a Difference-maker for Kids [VIDEO]
Champions for America's Future member Julie Smith discusses the importance of afterschool programs in California
Julie Smith, Olympic softball gold medallist and Champions for America’s Future member spoke at an after-school rally regarding the importance of afterschool programs, especially in terms of physical education, as part of the campaign to increase the ASES rate.
Afterschool programs make a difference. They offer a safe space to play and exercise after the school bell rings.
As part of the Save After School Campaign, Julie Smith discussed the importance of afterschool programs for the health of at-risk youth. In afterschool programs, children receive nutritious meals and receive physical exercise, something which many children do not have access to at home. Smith highlighted the obesity rate in the United States, which will approach 42% should current trends continue, and argued that it is paramount to protect afterschool programs as a means to combat the national issue of childhood obesity.
Inadequate funding continues to threaten the closure of many afterschool programs across the state. Last year, a $50 million increase provided needed relief, but was only enough to raise the Average Daily Attendance rates for ASES by 9%, from $7.50 to $8.19 per student. Unfortunately, California’s final 2018-19 budget did not include additional funding for ASES.
Next year, efforts will continue to keep high-quality afterschool programs open for the students, families, and communities that need them. As Smith said in her remarks, the benefits of these programs are numerous, and we hope that lawmakers will follow her call to prioritize funding for them as soon as possible.