On Wednesday, June 6th, leaders from LA-based After-School All-Stars (ASAS) convened in Washington, DC. The purpose of the cross country visit was to gather with colleagues from throughout the U.S. and meet with Congressional offices to discuss how quality after-school programs offer cost-effective, high impact solutions to major challenges facing America’s youth such as violence, high school and college graduation, obesity, civic engagement and workforce readiness.
After-School All-Stars Hawaii Executive Director, Dawn Dunbar and ASAS National CEO and President Ben Paul pose with Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii.
The briefings with staff and Members of Congress featured Jenny Simon, an eighth grade Haitian immigrant who joined the Orlando, Florida All-Star program in sixth grade behind in school and is now on grade level, a regular on the honor-roll and on track to be part of the first generation of college graduates in her family. Juan Hernandez-Campos, a former After-School All-Star in Los Angeles, who in just ten short years has gone from not speaking any English to graduating last week from Harvard University on a full-scholarship, also joined the meetings. In addition, Atlanta middle school principal Joyce Thomas and Dr. Walter Thompson, Executive Director of After-School All-Stars Atlanta brought perspectives from the programmatic, school and state level.
After-School All-Stars (ASAS) is a national non-profit organization which provides free, daily after-school programs to 81,000 low income, urban youth at 453 Title I schools in 13 cities across the U.S. – from New York to Hawaii. 90 percent of ASAS students are minority, 85 percent qualify for Free and Reduced Lunch and 65 percent are middle school age.
Offering 3 hours of daily programs that combine Academic, Enrichment and Health and Fitness activities, ASAS is responding to America’s high school dropout, youth obesity, student empowerment and economic crises.