Successful “Lights on After-school” press conference” hosts over 300 youth
On Thursday October 22, City Hall’s plaza was filled with more than 300 youth, parents, media, and elected officials to celebrate the National campaign, “Lights on After-school.” Elected officials such as NYS Senator Ruth Hassel - Thompson, City Council members Roberta Apuzzo, Yuhanna Edwards, Debra Reynolds and Richard Thomas, along with the Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Hamilton, joined the Mount Vernon Youth Bureau’s Executive Director, DaMia Harris-Madden, to highlight the city’s support for after-school programs.
The Mount Vernon Youth Bureau through its Mount Vernon After-school Providers Alliance, a group representing after-school initiatives, have worked with the schools to increase awareness for much needed after-school programs. The Bureau drew crowds from the city after-school programs along with organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club, Sports and Arts, Bethel Gospel Center and Y-COP. The Sports and Arts in School Foundation (Sports and Arts), the MV STRONG- Amani program and the MV STRONG- MV High School program showcased their talent through music and dance. Community members such as Singer and actress, Malinda Hodge, and Penny the Clown supported the event through music, face painting, balloon animals and magic. The Youth Bureau’s CAPP Peer Educators from various high schools help to engage the crowd by providing information and giveaways to parents and youth, encouraging youth to make healthy decisions. The City of Mount Vernon was one of more than 7,500 sites across the nation sending the message that positive youth development programming during unsupervised time is critical to youth success, and that communities must keep the lights on and doors open after school.
“The city joins the nation in celebrating the after-school experience and particularly the people in this city who make after-school programs a priority for our children, stated Mayor Ernest D. Davis. Parent Shaneil Giles, who spoke at the rally and also to the news stations explained, “after-school programs keep youth out of trouble and gives them the opportunity to be social in a safe environment.” DaMia Harris- Madden, the Executive Director of the Mount Vernon Youth Bureau commented, “the community benefits socially, financially and personally from high-quality after-school programs. Children and youth gain from the academic support and social enrichment, while parents are able to work uninterrupted due to the after-school program hours and the affordability and safety of the offerings.”
Not only did the Bureau achieve their mission of highlighting the importance of after-school programming, but they also received promises for additional support from elected officials present.
For more information regarding after-school programs, please contact the Bureau at (914) 665-2344 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Youth Bureau’s Executive Director, DaMia Harris-Madden, addressing thew large gathering of youth