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Long Beach Police Chief, Assemblymember Visit International Elementary School

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 5, 2011   

Contact: Meghan Moroney, 415-450-1913;

Long Beach, Calif.  (December 5, 2011)— State Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) and Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell visited the after-school program at International Elementary School on Monday to see how the program keeps students engaged in productive educational activities and away from crime.

“I see it all the time: kids left unsupervised in the hours after school have a way of getting involved in problematic activities,” said Chief McDonnell, a member of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids California, a national anti-crime organization of police chiefs, sheriffs, district attorneys and violence survivors, with 400 members in California. “The reality is that violent juvenile crime spikes between 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.  I’m a long-time advocate of after-school programs because I know that they help keep kids – and the entire community – safe.”

Research also links after-school programs to increased school-day attendance and improved graduation rates, according to California’s After-School Commitment: Keeping Kids On Track and Out of Trouble, a 2010 report by Fight Crime: Invest in Kids California.

The after-school program at International Elementary School is coordinated by the YMCA Long Beach Community Development Branch.  The local YMCA provides high-quality after-school academic support and enrichment activities to over 1,800 students at 11 middle and elementary schools throughout Long Beach. Program offerings include physical recreation, tutoring, literacy and math intervention as well as a SAFE healthy living curriculum.

International Elementary School relies on state after-school funding from the After School Education and Safety (ASES) program, which was substantially expanded by Proposition 49, enacted by the voters in 2002.  In the Long Beach Unified School District, 57 schools receive approximately $8.4 million in state after-school funding to serve approximately 6,280 students.

Still, demand remains high for after-school programs. Statewide in 2010, applicants sought more than twice as much state after-school funding as was available, and the state turned away over 400 schools seeking $54 million in funding. In Long Beach, 31 elementary and middle schools still lack state after-school funding.

“It’s clear that after-school programs are win-win,” said Assemblymember Lowenthal. “Not only do these programs keep kids safe and out of trouble, they also improve academic achievement, provide employment opportunities, and keep parents working.”

The ASES program links schools and local community resources in order to provide academic and enrichment activities in a safe, well-supervised environment for students in kindergarten through ninth grade. Given its requirement of a 33 percent match in local contributions for every dollar of state funding received, ASES not only helps generate local funding, it also encourages an integrated partnership between the local community and schools.

Fight Crime: Invest in Kids members support ongoing investment in the ASES program, which supports after-school programs at thousands of schools in high-need communities across the state; funding for ASES cannot be reduced without another ballot initiative.