White Plains-based WCJS Wins Grant For After-School Program

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WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Westchester Jewish Community Services’ Off The Street Program has been selected as one of the winners of New York State’s 68 Advantage After-School Program grants. WJCS Off The Street has been granted almost $172,000 each year for five years.

“We are ensuring that children in communities across the state have access to learning opportunities and cultural exposure that will further their development for years to come,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in announcing $10 million in grants to after-school programs.

The Off The Street program of the White Plains-based WCJS has been providing enrichment activities and educational support to students in second- through sixth-grade at Hamilton Elementary School in Mount Vernon for more than 15 years. With the grant, the program will be expanded to five days a week and to three hours per day.

The program usually employs 24 students from Mount Vernon High School each academic year to help Hamilton students stay on grade level. They tutor the elementary students based on specific needs identified by their teachers.  The program provides a safe place for them, improves their social skills, increases family involvement in their education and promotes development of a literate and socially adept work force. 

In addition, more than 30 volunteers from Scarsdale and other towns also provide enrichment activities, such as computer club and cooking classes.

“Our research has shown that more than 85 percent of students with high needs who participate in after school tutoring with our professional staff improved academically,” said Shamar Watson, program director, WJCS Off The Street. “And we’re gratified that we can have such a positive impact on the lives of these children. The grant enables us to have an even greater effect in the community.”

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