Last month’s issue of the Afterschool Advocate contained data from the Afterschool Alliance’s Uncertain Times: Afterschool Programs Still Struggling in Today’s Economy report, which found that afterschool programs are struggling in the aftermath of the recession.

Consider submitting a letter-to-the-editor to a local newspaper with findings from the study, and localize it with information about unmet need for afterschool programs in your community. Most letters can be submitted by email or online to the letters-to-the-editor section of your local newspaper. Be sure to cut and paste text into your email, rather than sending it as an attachment.

Sample Text

To the Editor:

Reducing the federal deficit is certain to remain a big issue in the months ahead. I wish that when the candidates shared their ideas for deficit reduction, they would give us specifics: What programs will they cut? When? By how much?

Specifics like those matter a lot to families. [The afterschool program where I work is facing tough times, largely because] the tight economy has put a squeeze on parents’ wallets, charitable giving, and government funding all at the same time. A new report from the Afterschool Alliance, aptly called Uncertain Times 2012, shows that our problems are shared nationwide. According to the report, 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, and 62 percent describe their funding as down “a little or a lot” from three years ago.

In January, if Congress doesn’t act, a new round of automatic budget cuts is set to take effect, likely resulting in an across-the-board cut that could put out of operation any number of afterschool programs that rely on federal support. We need those programs to keep our kids safe, inspire them to learn, and help working families. The well-being of our children, families and community depend on them.

[your name, affiliation, phone number]

This story originally appeared in the Afterschool Advocate (Vol. 13, Issue 9).

Click here to read the rest of this issue.