Our Latest

Lights on Afterschool: Holding a Light to the Benefits of Quality Programming

October 23, 2019


Naa-Shorme Aidoo is the Director of Policy at ExpandED Schools.

ExpandED Schools believes that New York City’s youth deserve equitable access to high quality programs that extend learning beyond the school day into afternoons filled with enrichments, new opportunities, personal development, and role models. That is why we proudly join the 20th Annual Lights On Afterschool celebrations taking place throughout the country. Thousands of programs in our city provide youth with personalized academic support, arts immersion, STEM exploration, literacy infused within creative enrichments, and career readiness; many of these programs support social emotional learning in dynamic ways. On October 24th, we shine a light on the fact that these experiences spark the critical thinking skills, the passions, and the relationships that are critical to youth development.

While this belief in the impact of after-school is widely held and supported by research studies, one in five children in the U.S. remain unsupervised during after-school hours. For every child enrolled in a program, there are two on a waitlist. Though enrollment has consistently increased over the past decade, there is clearly more progress we can make.

We are seeing a rise in enrollment because more and more policymakers are buying into the benefits of after-school programs as families, organizations, and schools continue to advocate for the resources to sustain and expand efforts. Eighty-five percent of New York state parents support public funding for after-school programs and 74% of them believe that after-school programs help them stay employed and able to support their families.[i]

The highlights of New York State after-school funding for the 2019-2020 school year are as follows:

  • New York State Education Department and the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) administered an additional $10 million to Empire State After-School programs, bringing total funding to $55 million in state funding and allowing programming to expand to more schools. This grant works with school districts and counties with a child poverty rate that is above 30%, areas with high youth homelessness, or where youth are considered at risk based on determinations from OCFS, NY State Division of Criminal Justice (DCJS), NYPD, and County Executives.
  • Advantage After-School Programs (AASP) funding focuses on “disconnected/high need youth.” AASP has been allotted $22.3 million, shifting downward from peak funding of $28.2 million in school year 2007-08.
  • Extended School Day funding/School Violence Prevention is a funding stream dedicated to supporting students through an extended school day and for violence prevention programs. Funding for this year is at $24.3 million. Funding peaked at $30.2 million during the 2007-08 school year.
  • COMPASS/SONYC programs received Youth Development Program (YDP) funding, which is a funding stream that received $15.6 million this year, in contrast to its peak of $37.1 million in 2008-09.

Policy makers continue to learn more about the critical impacts of after-school programs, as indicated by the annual increase of Empire State After-School Program funding. We are hopeful that funding for the programs above and others will increase. As federal funding for out-of-school time programs are at risk, ExpandED and our partners in the field are committed to continuing to advocate for funding that ensures the sustainability of these programs—and you can join in too!

On Thursday, October 24th, we hope that you shine a light on the great things happening at your program. Let us know how you’re celebrating, so we can highlight your celebration. Here’s to another year of lighting up our city and our country!