At the PASA Breakfast at the Hope Club on March 29th, First Gentleman Andy Moffit spoke about the importance of after school programming to the youth and economy of Rhode Island. After school programming, as the First Gentleman said, is the other side of the coin when discussing Governor Gina Raimondo’s vision to make sure everyone can succeed in the state of Rhode Island. We can attract and grow jobs in Rhode Island, but that won’t be sufficient without a young population that has the skills necessary to succeed in those jobs. This is why after school programming is essential: It fosters the skills necessary for Providence youth to succeed in college and careers.
At the same time, it’s fun and offers young people a place to make progress and feel successful at something. Youth speaker Luis Florentino shared how the AfterZone, for him, was a fun and enriching alternative to going home after school with nothing but his homework to do. In the AfterZone at Roger Williams Middle School, Luis thrived, trying everything from the culinary arts to basketball to Mechatronics. It helped him stay in school, too. Youth have to attend school in order to attend our programs, which like in Luis’s case, has proven to be an effective approach to keeping young people in school and on track to graduate.
Lastly, an after school alliance like PASA is so effective at impacting the lives of youth because it relies on the talents and resources of many in the community. Youth speaker Marie Barry experienced this collaboration first hand during her time in the AfterZone at Nathan Bishop Middle School. She participated in Drama Club, Chorus and Handbells, and SailZone. All three courses were offered by community partners like Glenn Zienowicz and the Community Boating Center. As the First Gentleman said, PASA truly is a “network in which these are not my kids or your kids. These are our kids and our services.”
PASA is proud to receive support from the First Gentleman and to partner with the many talented individuals and organizations in our community who care about every young person having a chance to succeed. We are also grateful to the 100 attendees of this breakfast celebration and to the sponsors, including Rhode Island College, United Way, TZ Studios, and Bridge Technical Talent. Lastly, thank you to the host committee: Alison Eichler, Jennifer Kroll, Peggy Farrell, Joe Devine, Julia Bush, Julie Andrews, Carol Grant, and Rachel Colaiace.