Omari McCleary, program director at Good Shepherd Services in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, has been selected as one of a dozen 2013-2014 Afterschool Ambassadors by the national Afterschool Alliance.
The Afterschool Alliance announced Oct. 3 that Omari McCleary, program director at Good Shepherd Services, has been selected to serve as a 2013-2014 Afterschool Ambassador. McCleary is one of 12 local leaders from across the country to be chosen for the honor this year. Each Afterschool Ambassador will continue directing or supporting a local afterschool program while also serving the one-year Afterschool Ambassador term organizing public events, communicating with policy makers, and building support for afterschool programs. McCleary’s Ambassadorship is sponsored by The Robert Bowne Foundation.
“In Bedford Stuyvesant and all across the country, quality afterschool programs are doing a terrific job meeting the needs of students, families, and communities,” said Afterschool Alliance executive director Jodi Grant. “Afterschool programs keep kids safe during the out-of-school time hours, help working families, and inspire students to learn by offering enriching activities like Tae Kwon Do, robotics, and cooking clubs, as well as homework help, physical fitness, connections to mentors, and much more. As an Afterschool Ambassador, Omari will bring great energy to the work to build even stronger support for afterschool programs among parents, business and community leaders, lawmakers, and others. I look forward to working with him this year.”
After-school programs are under intense pressure. The Afterschool Alliance’s 2012 Uncertain Times survey found that more than three in five (62 percent) afterschool programs reported that their funding is down “a little or a lot” from three years earlier. Even in communities where local economies and program funding are faring better, program leaders express significant concern about their financial outlook and their inability to reach all children who need afterschool programs.
“I am delighted to have this chance to help increase support for afterschool programs, which give students opportunities to explore their interests and give parents the security that comes with knowing that their children are safe and supervised, with engaging, educational activities after the school day ends,” McCleary said. “After-school programs are critical to students’ success in school, to their safety, to working families, and to the nation’s workforce and its economy. We need to increase resources to afterschool programs and work toward the day when there is a program for every child who needs one.”
Each Ambassador will organize a major event for Lights On Afterschool, the Afterschool Alliance’s 14th annual national rally for afterschool, to be held on Oct. 17 this year. Last year, 1 million people participated in some 9,000 Lights On Afterschool events across the United States and at U.S. military bases worldwide.
Many more students across the country need access to afterschool programs. More than 15 million school-age children – more than one in four kids in the United States – are unsupervised after the school day ends. The parents of 18 million children say they would enroll their kids in afterschool programs – if programs were available.
To contact McCleary:
Good Shepherd Services
692 Blake Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11207
About Good Shepherd Services
Good Shepherd Services is a leading youth development, education, and family service agency serving more than 27,000 program participants a year. Good Shepherd Services has a profound belief in the strengths inherent in youth and the ability of individuals and families to transform themselves. The organization surrounds youth and families with the services and supports they need.
About the Afterschool Alliance
The Afterschool Alliance is a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization working to ensure that all children and youth have access to quality afterschool programs. More information is available at afterschoolalliance.org.