WEST CHESTER (December 7, 2017) – State Senator Andy Dinniman announced today that he has secured $60,000 in total state funding to support education and after-school programs at three youth centers throughout Chester County.

Pictured (from left to right) Dwayne Walton, Executive Director of the Parkesburg POINT; Debbie Shupp, Development Director of the Parkesburg POINT; and state Senator Andy Dinniman.

The centers, each of which will receive $20,000 in state grant funding, are as follows:

Dinniman, who serves as minority chair of the Senate Education Committee, said he worked to secure these funds to give students additional opportunities for outside-the-classroom learning, tutoring, homework assistance, skill-building, and remediation.

“These youth centers fill a vital need in communities throughout Chester County by offering safe, stable, and productive environments for young people to continue their studies, to seek academic assistance, to express themselves artistically, to develop new talents and skill sets, to explore possible career paths, to make friends and mentors, and to be inspired to new heights,” he said.

Dwayne Walton, Executive Director of the Parkesburg POINT, thanked Senator Dinniman for his leadership in securing the funds, which the center will use to support its growing job training and education programs.

“Many young people coming to The POINT face daunting situations – food and housing insecurity, abandonment, neglect, drug and physical abuse, fractured relationships and the terrible pressure to conform to generational cycles of poverty,” he said. “This program will help our youth find hope for a better way of life.”

Kristin Proto, Executive Director of the Garage Community Youth Center, said the funding will support the purchase of school supplies for its after-school homework and tutoring programs, as well as food for nutritional meals.

“The Garage is immensely grateful to Senator Dinniman and his staff who advocated for these funds, which will be key in supporting the academic portion of our mission,” he said. “We serve more than 500 students a year, five days a week, and we’re always working to foster community relationships and forge new partnerships to support our efforts.”

Alexis Boswell, Executive Director of Phoenixville Area Positive Alternatives, said the funding would support two after-school literacy programs at the center – “New Directions” for elementary school students and “Fast Forward” for middle school students.

“The New Directions and Fast Forward After School programs help improve and maintain literacy skills so that all students enrolled in our programs are successful in reading and writing, and progress to the next grade level. By working with our students daily, as well as dedicating one time per week, we help facilitate activities, lessons, and instruction so that our students continue to build their literacy skill sets,” she said. “Without these grants we would not be able to provide this free program all school year to those students who are at-risk.”