The Assembly - State of New York
Member of Assembly
6th District
September 26, 2003

Governor George E. Pataki
State Capitol
Albany, NY 12224

Dear Governor Pataki:

I urge your administration to immediately release funding for after-school programs. In the past, you have praised the effectiveness of these programs - now it's time you back up your words by releasing these desperately needed funds.

More than 17,000 children depend on the Advantage After School Program to provide them with a safe, educational place to go every day after school. Programs in Suffolk County and throughout New York are at immediate risk of closing their doors if funding already approved in the state budget is not released by October 1. One of those important programs is run by Youth Enrichment Services, which serves the communities of Bay Shore, Brentwood, Central Islip and West Islip.

Parents in Suffolk County are extremely concerned that your administration's failure to release this funding will jeopardize their children's future and only increase juvenile crime. As a parent and former police officer, I have seen first-hand the positive benefits that after-school programs have on children - from helping with homework and mentoring, to providing fun activities and curbing bad behavior. Keeping our children active and out of trouble after school is a small investment that pays huge dividends.

Without state funding, local officials are warning that they will be forced to reduce or completely eliminate programs. We must not allow that to happen.

In less than two weeks, communities across this state and nation will come together to recognize the importance of after-school programs during the 4th annual national "Lights On Afterschool" celebration. But unless you restore state funding, I'm afraid the event will have to be renamed "Lights Off Afterschool" here in New York.

Our children should not suffer because of unnecessary delays or inaction on the part of your administration. I urge you to do the right thing and renew the state's contracts with after-school programs in Suffolk County and across New York. Our children deserve no less.

Philip Ramos
Member of Assembly