More than 250 Students, Advocates Visit State Capitol to Support Afterschool Programs

Students in afterschool programs from across Pennsylvania were joined by educators, program professionals, community leaders and legislators to share their support for and experiences with afterschool programs at the 2024 Afterschool Advocacy Day at the Pennsylvania State Capitol.

Several speakers shared their support for Governor Shapiro’s $11.5 million proposed budget for the Building Opportunity Through Out-of-School Time (BOOST) legislation which would provide the first dedicated state funding for quality afterschool programs.

“At PSAYDN, we recognize the immense potential that resides within our students from kindergarten through twelfth grade. These young minds, when nurtured in the right environment, can flourish beyond the boundaries of traditional classroom settings. OST programs are that environment—spaces of innovation, creativity, and growth,” stated Contrell Armor, director of the Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network. “Today, as we advocate for the support and expansion of OST programs, we are advocating for a brighter, more equitable future. We are ensuring that every child, regardless of their background, has access to the resources they need to succeed not only in school but in life.”

Students Jay’Len C., Belmont Charter High School and IGNITE Afterschool Program, Philadelphia, and Afterschool Alliance Youth Afterschool Ambassador, and Dayasia D., Central Dauphin East High School, Harrisburg, and Boys & Girls Club of Harrisburg 2024 Youth of the Year, spoke at both press events.

Jay’Len shared that “afterschool is a very welcoming place… it showed me how to be a better leader and that people can make great things happen together.”

Dayasia shared how participating in an out-of-school program helped change her life for the better. “Through the [afterschool program], I got to meet kids from all different backgrounds, and it built a sense of awareness within my community, and I got to volunteer at different services.”