VPOST Facilitated a visit from Senator Bernie Sanders to a Virginia Out-of-School Time Program!

In August of 2021, VPOST was honored to facilitate a summer learning program site visit with Senator Bernie Sanders (VT). As a result of his efforts to increase funding for afterschool and summer learning programs via the American Rescue Plan, Senator Sanders visited the Reston YMCA, about 30 minutes outside of Washington DC. Here, he toured the summer learning program, where Senator Sanders heard directly from the YMCA staff, including Executive Director David Rodriguez, on the support kids and families received throughout the pandemic from his programs and others just like it across the Commonwealth.

Out-of-School Time programs are educational leaders in maximizing impact through community partnerships. This is exemplified by the partnership between Reston YMCA and Fairfax County, Neighborhood and Community Services, which operates one of their teen centers out of the YMCA. Senator Sanders was shown a robot made in their STEM program and spoke with the teens on their aspirations for the future. In walking from one area to another on the tour, Sanders noted some food in storage. It was explained that the Y is also a place where food was distributed to community members in need. 

Senator Sanders passionately expressed that he will continue to fight for affordable childcare and afterschool options for working families. On behalf of the out-of-school time field in Virginia, VPOST Professional Development and Quality Coordinator, Christine Jones Monaccio, thanked Senator Sanders for his diligence in the landmark funding for afterschool and summer learning programs in the American Rescue Plan. 

Blaire Denson and Barbara Couto Sipe column: When will we recognize how important afterschool programs are to Richmond families?

VPOST Executive Director, Blaire Denson, and VPOST Advisory Council member/NextUp President & CEO, Barbara Couto Sipe, highlight the dedication of out-of-school time staff since the beginning of the pandemic. The article in the Richmond-Times Dispatch also advocates for the tremendous opportunity through the American Rescue Plan to fund afterschool and summer enrichment programs.