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The U.S. now has more confirmed coronavirus cases than any other country. Despite the pandemic, Election 2020 continues and states are making changes.

2020Talks - March 27, 2020 


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As School Starts, After-School Programs Also Ramp Up

Yakima area after-school programs give kids a chance to be part of community volunteer projects, such as working with wildlife. Here, they're banding ducks. Credit: NW Community Action Center
Yakima area after-school programs give kids a chance to be part of community volunteer projects, such as working with wildlife. Here, they're banding ducks. Credit: NW Community Action Center
September 10, 2015

YAKIMA, Wash. - Part of a new school year is working parents' annual hunt for safe places for kids to go after school hours. Five organizations in Washington learned this month there's more money in their budget for after-school programs, as part of the 21st Century Community Learning Initiative.

One of the grants is being used by the Northwest Community Action Center to open two more after-school sites in the Yakima area, bringing the total to 15 in eight central Washington communities. Program coordinator Beth Wyant says they serve almost 1,400 kids.

"We offer tutoring to help with their academics; we do a lot of hands-on learning," says Wyant. "We do community-service learning so they're out volunteering, they're learning how to give back and just all different kinds of things that complement what happens during the school day, but it's a little bit different."

Wyant says the grants are for five years, which adds some stability to programs that often have to scramble for funding and rely on donations and volunteers. The 21st Century Community Learning dollars are federal and have been trimmed in recent years. Washington is authorized to receive $36 million, but currently gets just over $16 million.

Wyant has been named a national "Afterschool Ambassador" who advocates for these programs. She points out that the combination of less federal funding and in Washington, no state funding for after-school learning, means there aren't enough programs for families who say they need them.

"There are a little over 16,000 kids in Washington state attending 21st Century programs," Wyant says. "But there are over 300,000 who would be in program if there were funding for them."

There's also tough competition for the few federal grants. In this round, 22 programs applied for a share of just over $1 million, and five were selected. Many after-school sites are trying to focus on more science and technology learning, which Wyant says can be especially expensive.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - WA