Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network (PSAYDN) recognizes 14 individuals, including five youth and three elected officials, and six organizations for innovation and excellence in out-of-school time programs that keep kids safe, inspire learning and help working families.
Pottstown, Pa – Olivet Boys & Girls Club and the Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network (PSAYDN) honored Senator Bob Mensch (R-24) as an Afterschool Champion for outstanding work in developing, supporting and promoting meaningful high-quality afterschool/out-of-school time programs to benefit children, youth and families across Pennsylvania on August 12, 2015 at the Olivet Boys & Girls Club’s Ricketts Center Unit in Pottstown, Montgomery County.
Afterschool programs pick up where the school day leaves off. In addition to offering kids a safe, supervised place to go before and after school, on weekends and during summers to get academic help, programs provide a variety of activities—science, technology, service learning, career exploration, art, music, dance, sports and much more—that help kids develop new interests and skills. The Afterschool Champion Awards honor programs, elected officials, youth and individuals for excellence in the service of children, schools and communities.
Senator Mensch has been supportive and a huge component of advocating the importance of school-age since 2012. The senator always has an open door when a request is made to visit him to discuss the importance of the program, visits frequently, not just when asked, but when he is in the area and has time in his busy schedule as well. For Lights On Afterschool 2013 Senator Mensch visited one of the after-school programs in Quakertown, PA spoke with the QCSD on the importance of such OST programs. In 2014, Senator Mensch attended Lights On Afterschool issuing a proclamation announcing October 23 Lights Afterschool Day.
“As an Afterschool Champion, Senator Mensch leads through example,” said PSAYDN director Laura
Saccente. His outstanding commitment and hard work was recognized by Heather Moyer, Chief Development Officer for the Olivet Boys & Girls Club, who nominated him, as well as by peers, leaders and community members. We are thrilled to shine the light on these inspiring accomplishments.”
“Formative, out-of-school hours can be filled with quality youth development programs that not only promote the well-being of our children and youth, but also families,” Saccente said. “Increased academic achievement, reduced criminal activity, and positive social development are the results of high-quality afterschool activities.”
The 2014 America After 3PM study conducted for the Afterschool Alliance found that 17 percent of Pennsylvania students, 321,296 children in all, are enrolled in afterschool programs, up from 9 percent in 2009, when the survey was last conducted. But 346,457 Pennsylvania students are still without adult supervision in the afternoons. The parents of 811,954 Pennsylvania children not already in an afterschool program say they would enroll their child if a program were available.
“It’s great that we’ve made progress on afterschool, but we’ve still got a long way to go,” said Saccente. “The unfortunate reality is that afterschool programs in the state reach only a fraction of the children and families who need them. We can fix that, if we’re willing to commit the resources necessary to grow afterschool programs and create the opportunities all of our children need,” Saccente added. “Afterschool Champions are critical for building support from all sectors – from the business and philanthropic communities, as well as from the government at all levels.”
About the Olivet Boys & Girls Club:
A chartered member of Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Olivet Boys & Girls Club serves 3,000 members a year, 1,500 different participants a week and 800 kids a day at seven club sites and six school sites in Reading as well as a location in Pottstown. The Club was founded in 1898. Its mission is “To enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as healthy, caring, productive, responsible citizens. For more information about Olivet Boys & Girls Club visit www.olivetbgc.org
Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network (PSAYDN) promotes sustainable, high-quality out-of-school time youth development programs through advocacy and capacity building to enhance the welfare of Pennsylvania’s children, youth and families. PSAYDN believes all children and youth deserve access to programs that encourage positive youth development and support the successful transition to adulthood. PSAYDN is managed by the Center for Schools and Communities. More information is available at www.PSAYDN.org.