Today at the Peter Paul Development Center in the city’s East End, Mayor Levar Stoney announced a major initiative to close the out-of-school time opportunity gap in Richmond.
Over the next two school years, the expansion of new and existing after school programs will ensure that every public elementary and middle school in Richmond will host a quality, full-service extracurricular program, opening the door for more than 1,000 additional students to receive supervised care, ranging from help with homework to recreation and enrichment activities.
“Today, we’re celebrating a major step in our continuing effort to care for our most valuable assets, our children, not just during the school day, but after the bell has rung,” said Mayor Stoney.
“Students spend 80 percent of their time outside of the classroom, and our kids need something productive to do,” the Mayor continued. “Filling this critical time with quality programming that nurtures their bodies and feeds their minds takes all of us – public, private and non-profit partners — coming together to ensure all of our children have the best opportunity to succeed.”
Nonprofits, including Peter Paul, the YMCA of Greater Richmond, and NextUp RVA, have committed to expanding their after school programs to new schools, and providing more slots at existing schools.
Philanthropic partners, led by Altria, the Community Foundation and the Robins Foundation reviewed the nonprofits’ expansion plans to identify and closed funding gaps, contributing close to $6 million for the 2018-2019 school year, $2 million more than last year.
“These programs will enrich the lives of our kids and also lead to better school attendance, greater resiliency to peer pressure and improved classroom behavior and academic performance,” said Jennifer Hunter, Senior Vice President, Communications and Corporate Citizenship for Altria.
“For every dollar spent on quality after-school programs, the community recovers anywhere from $3 to $5 in education and juvenile crime savings,” said Sherrie Armstrong, President and CEO of the Community Foundation. “By investing in our young people, we invest in the future of Richmond- its diversity, economic vitality and vibrancy.”
A shared donor fund will be housed at the Community Foundation to garner the resources necessary to support sustaining and expanding high-quality out-of-school time programming. The United Way will provide staff support to manage its coordination.
“We are delighted to celebrate this progress toward our shared goal of a city-wide system for kids and families,” said Kelly Chopus, President and CEO of the Robins Foundation. “We are committed to this effort because our children and our city deserve it.”
The administration and City Council worked together in the budget to help fund the expansion.
“The City Council has invested and will continue to invest in Richmond’s kids and families,” said Richmond City Council President Chris Hilbert. “Providing out-of-school programs is a shared priority by Mayor Stoney and the City Council.”
Richmond School Board member Cheryl Burke said the availability of out-of-school programs like the Peter Paul Development Center in the East End is vital to the success of the city’s children.
“We must continue to invest in our children in the classroom and in the community, and this is a great example of collaboration between the City, Richmond Public Schools and philanthropic partners.”
Today’s announcement marks another down payment on Mayor Stoney’s promise to advance the city’s commitment to its children by caring for the “whole” child. Earlier this year, City Council approval of the mayor’s budget provided funding to expand hours at city community centers, as well as funding for free GRTC bus passes for all Richmond Public Schools high school students. The FY 2019-2020 budget dedicates more than $1 million in the budget to provide wrap-around services for students and after-school programs.
“This is what One Richmond is all about,” said Mayor Stoney. “The administration, City Council, public, private sector, nonprofit partners and community groups all coming together. I applaud everyone’s commitment to come together, to work for each other and to build a better city for everyone by expanding opportunity for all.”