URGENT: Tell Congress NOT to Cut Funding for Afterschool Programs

With the proposed federal budget cuts, funds for 21st Century and other afterschool programming are being threatened. The 21st Centruy program needs the continued support of the current $1.16 billion funding from the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative in order to ensure that two million in-need children around the United States and over 50,000 children in Illinois don't lose access to the local school-community partnerships that provide quality after school and summer learning opportunities.

21st Century afterschool programs are locally designed, innovative support programs that meet critical needs for low-income students and families. Programs also provide a safe haven that helps kids avoid risky behaviors during the hours of 3-6pm, when juvenile crime peaks. 

Family Focus has recieved 21st Century Community Learning Centers grants since 2003.  In that time, 45 Illinois schools have provided services from Pre-K to 12th grade students and their families before school, after school, on weekends, on non-school days and during the summer. In 2016, Family Focus' 21st Centruy programs leveraged over $833k in additional resources for students and families for materials, staff training, and other program support. These programs served 16 schools and 1,711 students.

The results of this program speak for themselves:

  • 40% of students increased their reading and math grades
  • For students with failing math or reading grades (D or F), 52% increased their grade to a C or better by the end of the school year
  • 67% of students improved their participation in class and academic preformance
  • 85% of parents reported their child had improved behavior and attitudes towards schools

(Family Focus 21st Century Local Annual Evaluations, 2016)

How to help:

Use these personal success story templates that our partner ACTNOW created for parents and youth to fill out. Congressional staff are asking for personal testimonies showing the success and impact of afterschool programming to fight these budget cuts. Print and fill out these forms and return them to Alisha Flores at our central office (Family Focus, Inc. 310 S Peoria St, Ste 301, Chicago, IL 60601) ASAP. Please include a picture of you and your child if you can!

We also encourage you to write letters to your representatives using this template that includes data from Family Focus' 21st Century programs about the benefit of afterschool programs, and urges Congress not to pass the proposed budget. 

To find your representatives, select the 21st Century program center your child is affiliated with:

Or, look up your representatives at http://www.elections.il.gov/DistrictLocator/DistrictOfficialSearchByAddress.aspx.

Family Focus, along with the thousands of other afterschool programs, thank you for helping to fight to protect the funding for these vital programs. For questions, please contact Alisha Flores