WCK President, Katie Riley
Looking back/Looking forward- While you are reading about the great summer programs offered by our partner providers, keep in mind that for most kids, their families need to pay and for many kids, their families cannot afford even low-cost fees. A few scholarships are available thanks to generous providers. However, we had hoped that the legislature would fund SB 531 to provide care to kids from economically challenged families. This did not happen. The legislative session has ended, and the bill didn’t even get assigned to a Ways and Means subcommittee, so it never had a work session and a recommendation for funding. Schools were given extra money for summer school and could spend some of that money on extended care, but that depends on the school district. We were contacted by a nonprofit about the possibility of generous donors providing funding for summer care but have not heard anything more from them so far. This has been an unprecedented year for income in the state, and yet, thousands of kids will have no programs this summer.
In addition, SB 858 which would have provided citizens with the ability to gather signatures to have a ballot measure to form children’s service districts did not receive a work session, so it never got out of the Senate Finance and Revenue Committee. Therefore, it never got an opportunity for a vote. It was not given a work session because mayors opposed it due to fears of it affecting their ability to have enough property taxes for other priorities. Some funding exists for early learning for the most economically challenged. Kids in K-12 spend more time out of school than in school but there is no funding to continue with necessary support. At what point do older kids become a priority?
So far, the county has not been willing to approve having a local funding option for kids.
Many people are concerned about kids not doing well in school, using substances to alter their awareness, roaming the streets with nothing to do, being on phones and playing video games, and showing signs of depression and isolation. After-school and summer programs keep kids occupied and learning. Research shows they are effective. But the programs require funding. This needs to be a priority. We talk about kids being the future. We need to invest in that future. Let’s put our money where our mouth is. Come join us in our efforts to change the future.
Grants we are pursuing- We have now submitted two grants for collaborative efforts to provide training for older teens and youth to become childcare workers. It has been exciting to work with Champions, Club K, The Student Stop, and the Sherwood Family YMCA to see if new staff can be trained and hired and also to partner with Centro Cultural’s Prosperidad program that has agreed to provide wrap-around services to make sure every participant succeeds. Keep your fingers crossed that the grants are approved.
Don’t forget- Thre Gala is coming! Looking forward to seeing you at the Gala—Reach for the Stars! — on August 3rd. We have great sponsors! So far, we have Vernier Software and Technology, Kate Grandusky, Joe and Corinne Christy, former BOLI Commissioner Brad Avakian, Karen Bolin with Edward Jones, Room 122, Werner James with Edward Jones, Tracey Styner, former State Representative Margaret Doherty, Narce Rodriguez, and pledges from many more! Don’t hesitate, to be part of a wonderful group and enjoy a standout evening!