(WKBW release)Wednesday, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz was joined by Erie County Legislature Chair Betty Jean Grant, Majority Leader Thomas Mazur, members of the legislature’s majority caucus, community leaders, and enthusiastic children at the George K. Arthur Community Center in Buffalo to announce the return of summertime fun and learning programs for local children through “Operation Primetime” grants.
According to a news release:
Fifty-two local not-for-profit agencies will receive some level of funding for their summer programs, with the amount of recipients’ grants ranging between $5,000 - $10,000.
“Operation Primetime opens up new opportunities for children who lack structured activities during the summer months, activities they need for healthy development,” said Poloncarz. “These are activities that children enjoy, activities that help them socialize, learn, and give back to their communities. In addition, Operation Primetime also gives agencies like the George K. Arthur Community Center a chance to expand their programming in the summer months, giving more youth a chance to participate in safe, structured activities throughout the summer.”
Primarily serving youth in need, the programs offer young people positive development activities, access to safe places for summer programs, and a wide range of activities offered by participating agencies. Designed for youths ages 6-21, activities include arts, community service, recreation, and field trips; programs also provide educational components. Many of the recipient programs are located in or around the City of Buffalo, with others in Lackawanna, Eden, Holland, East Aurora, Tonawanda, and elsewhere.
“Operation Primetime is a valuable program and resource, providing activities and services for our children across Erie County, from the cities and suburbs to the rural communities,” said Legislature Chairperson Betty Jean Grant (D-Buffalo). “By providing structured activities, we help our youth stay out of trouble and remain productive.”
“This is long overdue funding for this program which provides wholesome summer activities for local youths. When kids are busy, they stay out of trouble. These programs not only help with educational pursuits, but the kids also have fun,” added Legislature Majority Leader Thomas Mazur (D-Lackawanna). “But I also believe that state and federal governments need to step up to the plate and provide the matching funds they once used to for these programs.”
“Evidence shows that positive youth development programming during out of school time, especially during summer months, is a key factor in a young person’s development,” said David Rust, Deputy Commissioner of Erie County Youth Services. “I want to thank the volunteer members of the Erie County Youth Board for their hard work reviewing and scoring proposals and visiting agencies. Now, thanks to Primetime, more than 15,000 youth will be able to safely enjoy their summers by participating in the enriching, high quality programs offered by our partners throughout Erie County.”
Programs receiving funding are asked to operate from 12pm- 7pm, Monday through Saturday. Prioritized program areas include academic enrichment; cultural enrichment (arts, music, science); career enrichment; youth leadership, community service and civic engagement; and gang and violence prevention. Supervised recreation may serve as a part of a program but cannot be a program by itself.