Wheatley calls for after-school program study
Study would provide advocates with much-needed data
PITTSBURGH, March 28 – Recognizing the many positive impacts after-school program have on Pennsylvania’s youth, state Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, has introduced legislation (H.R. 180) calling for a study of after-school programs in Pennsylvania – and the return-on-investment they offer as it relates to the wellbeing and growth of children, the support of families and the future of the commonwealth.
“To some people having strong, safe and positive after-school programs are a luxury, but to me and many others it was, and is, a lifesaver,” Wheatley said. “This week youth from across the commonwealth came to Harrisburg to express the need for Gov. Tom Wolf and the General Assembly to support high-quality programs, and to make sure there are safe and nurturing programs across Pennsylvania.”
Wheatley continued, “Where many see these programs as simply places for children, they miss the fact that having high quality out-of-school/after-school programs available for youth supports working families and their abilities to work. These programs prevent our youth from being in the streets without adult supervision, which ultimately assists our law enforcement with reducing the chance our youth may be exposed to crime and criminal activities.”
Wheatley said that supporting after-school programs is a personal issue, as well as good public policy.
“Having a safe and caring space for me to go to after I left school was a major reason why I was able to survive the difficult streets while my parents worked,” Wheatley said. “This study will produce a much-needed piece of data that afterschool advocates can use to leverage the General Assembly to invest in afterschool programs, and make them accessible for children and families all across our commonwealth.”