21st Century Grant Creates After-School Centers

Thousands of local elementary and middle school students this fall will receive expert homework assistance and educational and recreational after-school activities thanks to a new $15 million grant. The Long Beach Unified School District will partner with the City of Long Beach and local youth service organizations to implement the 21st Century Community Learning Center grant. Federal funds will pay for after-school centers that will serve 24 schools. Ten more schools here may be funded in the next year. Some centers will be located at schools, others at nearby locations like the United Cambodian Community Center. Local schools served by the grant are Addams, Burnett, Burroughs, Butler, Cleveland, Edison, Garfield, Grant, Hamilton, Harte, International, Jefferson, King-Edison, Lafayette, Lee, Lincoln, McKinley, Robinson, Roosevelt, Signal Hill, Stevenson, Sutter, Webster and Whittier. The City’s Department of Parks, Recreation & Marine, the Boys and Girls Clubs and others will help students meet rigorous math, science and reading standards. Tutors will be trained to help with homework. Centers will offer work experience to young adults. The grant also will provide sports, recreation, dance, art, cooking and drama activities. Of 165 applicants in California, only 57 agencies won grants. Most schools will serve about 125 students with free activities three hours a day, five days a week. The grants will pay for staff, materials and training.