Hi, my name is [name]. I am a constituent from [city, state]. Could I please speak with the legislative aide who deals with education and afterschool programs?
Congressional office: Let me see if XXX is available. May I ask what you are calling about?
I'm calling about the importance of afterschool and summer programs supported by the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative and to share concerns about how the pandemic is impacting local afterschool programs.
Congressional aide: Hi, this is XX.
Hi, this is [name] from [city, state]. I'm calling about the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative. Community Learning Center funds provide nearly 2 million kids across America with a safe place to go after school, and help [your state]’s working parents keep their jobs. Additionally - during the COVID-19 pandemic, programs are either forced to close or are staying open the entire day to accommodate parents who must work.
Flexibility for programs is critical. We ask that you consider including additional supports in COVID-19 relief legislation that will better enable afterschool, youth-serving organizations to assist in our nation’s response to this public health crisis. As schools continue to close, first responders, medical professionals, and working families need their children, including school-aged children, to be well cared for during this time.
Due to this public health crisis, increased burdens on afterschool programs are severe and the supports that are needed to mitigate the long-term impacts on our organizations and the millions of youth we serve include: financial recovery supports to minimize the economic loss to the employer and employees, emergency program disruption reimbursements, funding to offset costs of sanitizing/deep cleaning of facilities , educational and nutrition services to youth who would normally be in school, and emergency healthcare exemptions.
[Your state] kids who take part in these afterschool programs do better in school, are more likely to graduate, and make better decisions. They are less likely to use drugs, drink, or get into trouble. Community Learning Centers are locally-driven solutions that help families, employers, and students to get ahead. Our community can’t afford for Community Learning Centers funding to be eliminated. I’d like to share a little about our [program/community] and the difference this funding makes.
IF YOU ARE A PROVIDER OR AFTERSCHOOL PROFESSIONAL:
Here in [insert town/city], our program, [insert name of program], serves [insert number] kids and families. We depend on funds from the Community Learning Centers program to keep our kids safe and engaged after school.
[Share a bit about the community served by your program. You could touch on a short story of how the program has helped a particular youth or family.]
Our program has [mention any outcome data you may have, such as students attending school more often, doing better in school, reduction in behavior problems, etc.]
[Go to Closing Request]
IF YOU ARE A PARENT or CAREGIVER:
My children participate in the [name of program] here in [city, state]. The program is a lifeline for our family.
[Share how the program helps your family, and what would happen if it closes. For example:] Having this program helps me, and other parents, keep our jobs. [Describe how the program helps you work, or what might happen if you did not have a program for your children].
My kids are thriving in the program. [Share one or two things that the program does for your children, such as how it has supported schoolwork, the development of new skills or experiences, relationships with caring adults, keeping active and away from screens or trouble.]
CLOSING REQUEST: Afterschool programs keep kids safe both offline and online, give parents peace of mind and help students achieve more. I would like to ask that the Congressperson/Senator please reject any proposal to cut or eliminate 21st Century Community Learning Centers. Can we count on your support?
Thank you for your time today, and for working for [state]'s kids and families.