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BREAKING NEWS: Our Afterschool Programs in Arkansas Are Being Eliminated Under POTUS Budget Proposal
Imagine what would happen if, tomorrow, our afterschool programs that 11,629 Arkansas kids attend suddenly closed.   That will be the impact for afterschool under President Trump’s proposed budget.

His budget eliminates 21st Century Community Learning Centers, crucial federal funding that supports our local afterschool and summer programs. 

Nearly 2 million kids nationwide—including 11,629 in Arkansas alone—may be left with nowhere to go, and their parents will be left scrambling to balance family and work responsibilities. 

President Trump is turning his back on our students and their families, and in the process dismissing decades of research that shows afterschool programs improve kids’ attendance and performance at school. We know that1 in 2 students who regularly attended a Community Learning Center afterschool program improved their math and reading grades. Two-thirds finished more of their homework and participated more in class. And nearly 65% improved behavior in class.

Afterschool programs also serve as a lifeline for our local families. In fact, 84 percent of parents statewide support public funding for afterschool. The vast majority – 79 percent – say our afterschool programs help them keep their jobs and give them peace of mind. 
They know their kids are safe and engaged in fun learning activities, whether they are receiving homework help, building robots, making music or exploring potential career paths.  Our programs are vital to positive youth development, because they provide a nurturing, secure place for kids to discover what they love to do and develop the skills they’ll need to land their first job.   

We Need Your Help!
We’ve fought this before. Last year the President’s budget zeroed out funding for afterschool. Congress had the wisdom to listen to Arkansas’s families and community leaders, and kept afterschool programs alive by funding it at its highest level to date!  Congress should listen to parents and providers in Arkansas again and reject the proposed cuts to afterschool funding. 11,629 children are counting on it.
We can’t do this alone.  We need your help spreading the message.  Below is a list of ways YOU can make an important impact.
  1. Follow AOSN on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and share our message.  Social media graphics can be found herewith accompanying messageposts.
  2. Let parents know that President Trump has proposed to zero afterschool funding
  3. Share program photos with us using #ARAfterschoolWorks
  4. Reach out to your members of Congress either by phone or email (A sample email message is provided below)
  5. Call your local Congressional office and invite them to visit your program and show them why afterschool is a vital resource to our communities and young people.  Congress is in recess February 19-23 and from March 26-April 6.
 
Click hereto find out who represents you in Congress.
** Please remember that messages should come from your personal email account outside of normal work hours.
 
Sample Message to Lawmakers

Dear XXXX,
Hi, this is [name] from [city, state]. I'm reaching out about the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative.
 
Here in [insert town/city], our program, [insert name of program], serves [insert number] kids and families. We depend on funds from the Community Learning Centers program to keep our kids safe and engaged after school.

Thank you for your support of local afterschool and summer learning programs that rely on federal 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) funding to provide quality programs to more than 1.6 million young people. As Congress works to finish the FY2018 spending process and starts the FY2019 process, I urge you to take the proposed Senate Appropriations Committee spending level and reject any cuts to the program.

Support for public investment in afterschool and summer learning programs is high. The recently-released Phi Delta Kappa International (PDK) Poll of Public's Attitudes Towards Public Schools found that 92 percent of Americans believe local public schools should be providing afterschool programs. A little bit of federal investment goes a long way to support afterschool learning opportunities of all kinds at the local level.

[Share a bit about the community served by your program. You could touch on a short story of how the program has helped a particular youth or family.]

Afterschool and summer learning programs help working families by keeping kids safe and productively engaged when school is not in session – the time when youth are most at risk of losing ground. A wide range of research has found that regular participation in high-quality summer and afterschool learning programs is linked to significant gains in academics, school attendance, and work habits, as well as reductions in behavior problems among disadvantaged students. Without funding for summer and afterschool programs, students will lose out on essential learning opportunities that help them prepare for school, college, and careers.
Thank you for your time today, and for working for [state]’s kids and families.
 
Sincerely,
[name]
[city, state].