POSTED: Friday, September 20, 2013 - 4:00pm
UPDATED: Friday, September 20, 2013 - 4:04pm
BATON ROUGE, LA — Citing a need for a shared vision and community plan, Mayor Melvin “Kip” Holden announced a taskforce to study after-school and out-of-school learning in Baton Rouge. His announcement came at his annual breakfast co-hosted by the Children’s Coalition of Greater Baton Rouge.
“The Mayor shared several powerful stories about children and the need for more resources for families while children are not in school,” said Genny Nadler Thomas, Advocacy Director for the Children’s Coalition. “The Coalition has been working with Mayor Holden in studying this issue. At a recent summit, the Children’s Coalition worked with children’s organizations and youth on this issue. The outcome of the summit was to form a taskforce to study models for a plan with a shared vision for after school in our community. We are extremely pleased that the Mayor is behind this.”
The taskforce will be made up of community leaders and will study successful, community-wide collaborations for afterschool and summer learning that are providing vision, common goals, and outcomes to solve issues facing our young people today. The partners will study and select five to seven collaboration models for afterschool and summer learning that are working in similar size communities and could be adaptable to Baton Rouge. This group will meet with representatives from at least three community collaborations to learn about the different strategies and challenges these communities faced in creating a community plan to increase access to affordable, high-quality, afterschool, and summer-learning opportunities.
While Baton Rouge has a very strong group of after school providers who deliver quality programs, federal and state funding cuts have limited how many students they are able to serve. According to the National Afterschool Alliance, only 13% of Louisiana’s children, K-12, participate in afterschool programs. By developing one shared vision, our community can better leverage resources and funding to create more opportunities for children in families who traditionally cannot afford after-school and out-of-school programs.
The study will begin in November of this year and the model results will be announced in early spring 2014. The recommendation from the taskforce will be the first phase in developing new opportunities and a collaborative plan for out-of-school learning. Mayor Holden announced that the following organizations and members of the taskforce: the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, BREC, Capital Area United Way, Children and Youth Planning Board, Children’s Coalition of GBR, EBR School Superintendent Office, EBR School Board, Office of the District Attorney and Office of the Mayor.