THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
VICE PRESIDENT GORE ANNOUNCES INITIATIVE TO SUPPORT SAFE, HIGH-QUALITY
AFTERSCHOOL PROGRAMS TO AID WORKING FAMILIES
Washington, DC -- Vice President Al Gore announced today Afterschool Resource Fairs in 16 cities and a new Web site, www.afterschool.gov that will help working families and thousands of children across the nation with safe, high quality after school programs. Both the Fairs and the Web site will connect schools, community groups, parents and afterschool programs with existing federal resources -- expanding afterschool opportunities around the country.
"For working parents worried about what their children are doing after school and for children who too often get in trouble in the after-school hours, these activities are critical. And it's not just for the peace of mind of a worried and overworked parent. It's also for the learning opportunities available to our children," said Vice President Al Gore. "This initiative will help communities expand high-quality afterschool programs so that young people can expand their horizons of creativity, receive one-on-one mentoring and tutoring, use computers, and learn skills they will need to compete and win in the 21st Century. This initiative will get existing resources to communities and kids that need them."
Under the initiative, 15 cities and one state are holding Afterschool Resource Fairs. At the Fairs, parents, care providers, teachers and interested community members will meet representatives from many federal agencies and non-profit organizations to learn more about programs and offerings that can assist children and youth. The Fairs are designed to involve communities in using existing resources--ranging from funding for afterschool snacks or transportation to math and science curriculum. The fairs are being held in Atlanta, Boston, Chattanooga, Dallas, Des Moines, Fort Worth, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Washington, D.C. and in the state of Vermont.
At least 5 million children -- and as many as 15 million -- are left at home after school unsupervised each week. Experts agree that school-age children who are unsupervised after school are far more likely to use alcohol, drugs and tobacco, commit crimes, receive poor grades, and drop out of school than those who are involved in supervised, constructive after-school activities. Studies by the FBI and youth-advocacy groups have found that most juvenile crime and victimization occur from 2 to 8 p.m. after traditional education programs end for the day.
In addition, the new Web site, www.afterschool.gov gives information about more than 100 federal grant programs and resources, as well as one-stop access to federal publications. It also connects kids and teens to many safe, fun and enriching government websites that let them do everything from building their own Galileo spacecraft to learning about Jake, a Labrador Retriever that works for the FBI.
The Fairs and the Web site were developed by the Federal Support for Communities Initiative with support from 17 federal departments and agencies, Vice President Gore's National Partnership for Reinventing Government, and the Federal Executive Boards. The Web site is supported by the General Services Administration, with assistance from The Finance Project, a non-profit organization.
Additional information, including announcements of future federal funding opportunities for after school programs, can be obtained on the Web site: www.afterschool.gov