Press Release - July 7, 2011

Contact:  Kelly Bachman
302-633-2501 or 302-299-9791

Local Community Centers to Offer Extended-Hour Programming for Summer Season

WILMINGTON – As part of a continuing effort to provide positive opportunities for Wilmington's youth, State and local officials came together this morning to announce extended-hour programming, at selected community centers in Wilmington, for the remainder of the summer. Children’s Department Secretary Vivian Rapposelli, Rep. Helene Keeley, Mayor James Baker and Councilman Jea Street, among others, were on-hand to help get the word out to families and children in the City and to recognize the various centers who will keep their doors open longer in order to better serve their communities.

“Warmer weather and a break from school means there are more children looking for something to do this time of year,” said Secretary Rapposelli. “It is our responsibility as parents, as a community, to give them options that are safe, engaging and inviting – and to make those options available as often as possible.”

This extended-hour programming is a complement to Governor Markell’s “Operation: Pressure Point” effort, which aims to crackdown on violent crime statewide. Continuing to be receptive and responsive to Wilmington community leaders and elected officials, this funding will serve as a preventative measure to deter youth in the City of Wilmington from engaging in risky or unsafe behaviors.

“These centers are vital partners in the community, and they play an important role in shaping our children’s lives,” Rep. Keeley said. “Their staff have developed a rapport with the families and children who visit them. Their diverse programming gives the kids different perspectives and opens their eyes and minds. This additional funding will allow them to have a greater impact and to better meet the needs of our city’s youth.”

The funding, totaling $150,000, will be passed through the Children’s Department and evenly dispersed to 10 centers including: Hilltop Lutheran Neighborhood Center, West End Neighborhood House, Latin American Community Center, Kingswood Community Center, Clarence Fraim Boys & Girls Club, Police Athletic League of Wilmington, Walnut Street YMCA, Girls, Inc.’s Dennison Branch, Neighborhood House and Hicks Anderson Community Center.

“We are truly grateful to the State for implementing this very much needed prevention initiative,” said Street, who is also executive director of Hilltop Lutheran Neighborhood Center. “I believe these activities will significantly reduce the likelihood of good kids becoming involved in negative behavior.”

Extended hours were implemented this week and will remain in effect through August.

The Children’s Department provides services to children who have been abused, neglected, are dependent, have mental health or substance problems, and/or have been adjudicated delinquent by the Courts. For more information, please visit www.kids.delaware.gov.

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Picture of Councilman Jea Street, Secretary Vivian Rapposelli, Mayor James Baker, Rep. Helene Keeley

Above from L to R: Councilman Jea Street, Secretary Vivian Rapposelli, Mayor James Baker, Rep. Helene Keeley
Below from L to R: Rep. Keeley, Mayor Baker, Secretary Rapposelli, Councilman Street Picture of Rep. Keeley, Mayor Baker, Secretary Rapposelli, Councilman Street