Keep 12,000+ Kids Safe: Save Afterschool Programs in New Jersey!
New Jersey After 3 is a statewide network of high-quality, cost-effective afterschool programs that serves more than 12,000 students in 115 schools across urban, suburban and rural communities. As the first public/private partnership of its kind, New Jersey After 3 supports local, community-based organizations (like Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCAs, etc.) that deliver evidence-based afterschool programs each school day. New Jersey After 3 programs have been cited by the NJ Attorney General's Office as an effective strategy that keeps communities safe, protects vulnerable children, and prepares students for success in high school, college and the 21st century workforce.
On February 11, 2010, Governor Christie announced the elimination of $5.2 million in public support to New Jersey After 3 for the remainder of this school year, as part of a series of mid-year budget cuts. These reductions will result in the closure of afterschool programs in more than 100 public schools across the state by March, putting thousands of children on the streets during the most dangerous time for kids - the hours of 3 pm to 6 pm. Without State support this year and next, New Jersey After 3 cannot sustain its network of programs, which will have a devastating effect on our 45 community-based nonprofit partners, 115 public school communities, over 1,000 afterschool educators, and the 12,000+ students and families who rely on these affordable programs.
New Jersey After 3 was created in 2004 as a statewide public/private partnership to deliver high-quality afterschool programs, with significant State support every year. New Jersey After 3 has successfully leveraged state funding to secure more than $34 million in outside investments, providing the State with a 40% return on its investment. In the recent years of economic tumult, New Jersey After 3 has faced a reduction in its state allotment of 33%, resulting in cuts in programming and thousands of students placed on waiting lists. However, at the same time, New Jersey After 3 has worked to increase outside investments by 75% in the last 2 years. Bolstered by its impressive attendance rates and evaluation results, coupled with growing national momentum for afterschool programs as an educational reform strategy, New Jersey After 3 has raised millions of dollars in investments in New Jersey's children by corporations, foundations, the federal government, and other sources. However, losing half of its statewide funding mid-year, with no promise of funding next year, is a devastating blow that New Jersey After 3 cannot endure.
Please write to our Governor, and request that the State fully support New Jersey After 3 for the remainder of this year, and sustain future investments in this critical asset.
With this letter, I urge you to restore the $5.2 million reduction that you proposed, and sustain the State’s investment in New Jersey After 3 throughout your term. New Jersey After 3 is a critical asset to the State, and an investment that makes sense during these extremely difficult times.
New Jersey After 3 supports a network of nonprofit-run, school-based afterschool programs that serves more than 12,000 children in 115 public schools across fifteen counties statewide. New Jersey After 3’s innovative model maximizes the resources of local nonprofits and public schools, harnessing local strengths under an umbrella of support that ensures high levels of quality, accountability, content, and comprehensive training. This evidence-based model leverages millions in corporate and individual contributions against its annual State grant. Its ability to provide such critical support, while leveraging such a significant return, makes it an asset to the State, and wise investment of taxpayer dollars.
There are three primary reasons why New Jersey After 3 is so vital to our children, families and communities. First, New Jersey After 3 programs keep kids safe when juvenile crime rates triple and children are most likely to experiment with risky behavior - the hours between 3 pm and 6 pm. Second, as parents seek and retain employment during this recession, New Jersey After 3 provides them with an affordable alternative to making the agonizing choice between working fulltime or leaving their kids unsupervised after school. Last, New Jersey After 3 expands learning time by 40% each school day, and has external evaluation data that shows it produces significant gains in the language arts skills, study skills and homework completion rates of students who participate for two years or more. New Jersey After 3 delivers these remarkable benefits at half of the average cost of similar high-quality programs in the nation.
As a long-term investment, these programs contribute to the academic and personal success of young people, by promoting academic achievement, healthy lifestyles, and exposure to a wide variety of experiences that prepare them for success in the classroom and the 21st century economy.
I realize that the State is facing significant challenges given the current economy, but expanding New Jersey After 3’s critical support to our State’s youth, families and school communities is exactly the type of investment that our State should be making during these times.
It is critical that you immediately act to restore the reductions that you propose, and I urge you to continue the State’s investment in this innovative, public/private partnership!