Matt Sampson, director of operations for Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada in Carson City, is traveling to Washington, D.C., Wednesday and Thursday, to advocate for afterschool programming threatened by cuts in the proposed 2019 federal budget.
Last year Sampson was appointed to serve a two-year term as an Afterschool Ambassador by The Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization dedicated to increasing the availability of afterschool programs.
“Last year ambassadors from across the country met in Washington for training,” Sampson said. “This year we are laying the groundwork with our elected representatives from Congress to show the importance of afterschool programming, and its impact on our children, our families and our communities.”
Ambassadors will meet with lawmakers and lobbyists on Capitol Hill, then meet privately with their own state’s elected officials. Sampson has meetings scheduled with Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto among others.
Cortez Masto visited the Clubs over the Easter break, speaking with Clubs members, staff and parents.
“During the recess, I met with some of the volunteers, kids and teens at the Boys and Girls Club in Carson City,” said Cortez Masto. “That tour was so impressive and it showed me just how much of an impact they’re having serving thousands of young people and teaching life skills in leadership, leading healthy lives, the arts and STEM education in a fun and inclusive environment. I will continue to work with the Boys & Girls Club to ensure our kids and teens have the mentorship, support, and resources they need to succeed.”
Sampson said his term expires in June, and a new ambassador from another region of the state will be named to pick up where he leaves off.
“I am presenting each legislator I meet with a packet of information about the impact of afterschool programming in Nevada,” Sampson said. “These meetings will open the lines of communication between community resources to our elected officials to help them understand the impact we make on communities and the struggles we are facing to keep programs and services alive for Nevada families.”
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada currently serve more than 2,500 youth each year in Carson City and the Carson Valley. The club offers youth programming in core areas including Character/Leadership, Sports/Healthy Lifestyles, The Arts, S.T.E.M. and Education, offering free tutoring for students after school.
According to the Afterschool Alliance, Nevada’s afterschool programs serve more than 9,500 children through 21st Century Learning Centers. These programs support academic enrichment activities, drug and violence prevention programs, career and technical programs, art, music, STEM, physical activity and nutrition programs. Under the 2019 proposed federal budget, Nevada’s current $9.5 million budget allocation zeroes out.
Nationwide, the Afterschool Alliance said more than 1.6 million children will lose afterschool programs. Formed in partnerships with the U.S. Department of Education and other private foundations, the Afterschool Alliance works with a broad range of organizations and supporters, including policy makers and policy maker associations, advocacy groups, afterschool coalitions and providers at every level, business and philanthropic leaders, technical assistance organizations and leaders representing a variety of interests, each with a stake in afterschool.
For information, contact the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada at 775-882-8820 or at www.bgcwn.org.