JPS, YWCA Benefit From After School Grant

The YWCA of Jamestown’s Advantage After School Programs at Jefferson and Washington middle schools recently received a grant of $107,102 through the state Office of Children and Family Services. Only 68 of 281 applicants received funding from this grant, which will take effect in September. The YWCA Advantage After School Programs help nearly 150 Jamestown middle school students participate in after school activities that provide opportunities to boost academic achievement, make positive choices, and develop individual interests and new skills.

“The YWCA of Jamestown is very happy to be selected for funding, especially considering the large number of applicants competing,” said Beth Oakes, YWCA executive director. “We look forward to another five years of providing enriching programming for Jefferson and Washington students. We are pleased to have such a great working partnership with the Jamestown Public Schools and to be able to provide these vital services to our community.”

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced $10.9 million in new grants, which will provide thousands of school-age children with quality youth development opportunities for three hours at the end of each school day. The statewide programs reduce the burden on parents and guardians who work in the evenings and are proven to boost academic achievement, enrich relationships with their peers and increase school attendance.

The Advantage After School Program is based on research that has found that students who participate in after-school programs have better attendance, better academic outcomes, better peer relationships and fewer behavior problems. Offered for three hours after school, Advantage programs focus on providing youth with opportunities to make positive choices and develop individual interests and new skills. Advantage programs involve parents and their local schools, bringing together multiple parts of the community to support the youth in the program.

“This round of Advantage funding comes at a critical time for our community’s children and their families,” said Julie Poppleton, director of After School Programming and Family Engagement. “Given the unpredictable, steadily dwindling after-school program funding status, we needed this award to stay afloat at both Jefferson and Washington middle schools. Although our original funding request was substantially reduced, we are extremely fortunate, since less than a third of Advantage applicants received an award, and many sites with current contracts were unable to secure funding in this round to continue offering programs in dozens of communities across New York state. We will breathe a temporary sigh of relief, make some adjustments, and persevere to provide the kind of top quality after school experiences our community expects and deserves. Our next challenge will be to sustain funding for our district after -school programs at Bush, Fletcher, Love and Ring elementary schools, currently supported by a NYS Education Department Extended School Day grant, which will sunset in June 2015.”

Jamestown Public Schools offers after school programming at all elementary schools, and at Jefferson and Washington middle schools. Parents can enroll their children in JPS After School Programs online at www.jamestownpublicschools.org. Click the link, “JPS After School Programming,” on the home page for more information or call the after school site coordinators directly at:

Bush Advantage After School Program – Allison Slagle (338-3827)

Fletcher After School Program – Aimee Solvo-Boron (338-6226)

Project LINC (Lincoln After School Program) – Cheryl Stone (499-6604)

Love Terrific Kids Program – Hannah Newman (450-8319)

Ring ROK Club – Gina Bloomquist (338-3824)

Washington Advantage After School Program -Erin Lindblad (338-3830)

Jefferson Advantage After School Program – Shane Monroe (338-3829).