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CHICAGO — Mayor Emanuel today announced that approximately 4,000 more children across the city will have access to after-school and summer programs over the next year through the City’s continued efforts to invest in these important programs that provide critical programming and opportunities for Chicago’s youth. This announcement reflects an additional investment of over $4 million dollars in FY2013 City funds and directly leads to a 30 percent increase in the number of children who will have access to after-school and summer programming supported by City funds, bringing the total number of children to approximately 13,000.
“After-school and summer programs play a critical role in allowing our students to continue to learn, grow and explore outside of the classroom,” said Mayor Emanuel. “An investment in a child’s future is the most important investment we can make, and I instructed my Budget Director to ensure the City continues to take steps to make these opportunities available to our children.”
This increase in the City’s current investment in children's after-school and summer programs adds $4 million in the City’s support of this important programming that impacts children throughout their lives, for a total of $13 million funds in the 2013 City budget. And earlier this summer, Mayor Emanuel announced a three-year investment, with $5 million allocated in the City's 2013 budget, that will create opportunity for over 5,000 children to access critical and high-quality early childhood education programs, starting in the 2013 school year.
Last week, Mayor Emanuel held conversations with local families and small business owners to discuss the importance of after-school and summer programs and get their ideas on how to balance the 2013 City budget. The City has already reduced the projected 2013 corporate fund gap by $71 million due to better spending controls, reforms, and higher revenue results due to economic growth. The Mayor will deliver his budget address to City Council on October 10, 2012.
One example of a program that could benefit from this additional City funding is One Summer PLUS, a targeted jobs program aimed at youth who are at increased risk of exposure to violence. This past summer, the PLUS program focused on providing opportunities to 700 youth from Morgan Park, Julian, Hyde Park, Simeon, Dunbar, Robeson, Gage Park, Orr, Kenwood, Harlan, Farragut, Fenger, and Marshall high schools.
The after-school and summer program investment will be allocated through the Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS). “Having steady employment during the summer months, or a safe place to go, to learn and be active and productive is one of the best ways to keep our children on the path to opportunity,” said DFSS Commissioner Evelyn Diaz.