Afterschool Alliance Honors Brevard Public Schools Employee
By Space Coast Daily // September 17, 2012
Jackie Francisco One of 12 Selected Nationally
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Afterschool Alliance has named a Brevard Public Schools employee to serve as a 2012-2013 Afterschool Ambassador.
Jackie Francisco, Assistant District Coordinator of Brevard Public Schools School Age Child Care program, is one of just 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.
“Quality afterschool programs are essential to students, families and communities,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. “These programs keep kids safe during the afternoon hours, help working families and inspire students to learn by offering hands-on science, math and other activities as well as homework help, mentoring opportunities, and much more.
“But in Washington, D.C. and all across the country, the afterschool programs that families rely on are being threatened by budget cuts and efforts to divert afterschool funds to other programs,” Grant said.
“As an Afterschool Ambassador, Jackie 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 her this year.”
“Jackie will bring great energy to the work to build even stronger support for afterschool programs among parents, business and community leaders, lawmakers and others.” Jodi Grant, Afterschool Alliance executive director
Afterschool programs are under intense pressure. The Afterschool Alliance’s Uncertain Times survey project, the only research effort to examine how the economy affects afterschool programs, found that nearly two in five afterschool programs (39 percent) report that their budgets are in worse shape today than at the height of the recession in 2008.
More than three in five (62 percent) afterschool programs report that their funding is down “a little or a lot” from three years ago. 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.
“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,” said Francisco. “Afterschool programs are critical to students’ success in school, to families trying to surviving in this recession, and to America’s workforce in the future. We need to strengthen the afterschool programs we have and ensure that there is a program for every child who needs one.”
Brevard Public Schools, through its School Age Child Care program, serves more than 4,000 students daily in 57 elementary schools including more than 1000 students in fifteen 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) grant programs.
The programs provide academic and personal enrichment including activities such as homework help, fine arts and music, technology, and fitness.
Francisco has worked in afterschool programs with Brevard Public Schools for more than 12 years.
She has served as a Site Coordinator in a school, Program Development Coordinator at the district working with all 57 sites, and since July, as an Assistant District Coordinator working primarily with 21st CCLC grants.
Her duties have afforded her the opportunity to experience child care at all levels of service.
Each Ambassador will organize a major event for Lights On Afterschool, the Afterschool Alliance’s 13th annual national rally for afterschool, to be held on October 18 this year.
Last year, a million people participated in some 7,500 Lights On Afterschool events across the United States and at U.S. military bases worldwide.