Press Release - Sep. 1, 2011

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

Extended-Hour Programming at Community Centers Continues Through September

WILMINGTON – Hundreds of local children will continue to benefit from an extended-hour program, being offered at 10 Wilmington community centers through September, thanks to financial support from the Delaware Children’s Department’s Division of Prevention and Behavioral Health Services.

The program was first implemented in July as a complement to Governor Markell’s “Operation: Pressure Point” effort, which aims to crackdown on violent crime statewide. Immediately, the program was a success, drawing an average of 30 – 80 kids, per center, per night, into the centers and off the streets.

“The response we have seen as a result of this program proves that, above all, children will respond positively and thrive when they are given something constructive to do with their time,” said Governor Markell. “With the success we’ve seen as a result of this effort, I’m pleased the State was able to utilize existing funding to extend this opportunity a bit longer.”

Each center was initially given $15,000 towards the extended-hours programming effort, which helped fund program expenses, food and transportation and staffing needs, among other items. To continue through the month of September, each location will receive an additional $7,000, which will support youth-focused activities. Those involved in the effort include: 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.

“The goal of this effort was to prevent youth in the City of Wilmington from engaging in risky or unsafe behavior,” said Vivian Rapposelli, secretary of the Delaware Children’s Department. “We were successful in achieving that goal for hundreds of kids. But it also served as an opportunity for these centers to serve as a source of support for families, to engage parents and caregivers and to help keep the city streets safer for the entire community.”

Centers receiving funding were required to provide extended-hours programming at least three nights per week. Many, however, offered extended hours in excess of the minimum required in order to best meet the needs of those in their community.

“As I’ve stated before, these centers are vital partners in the community, and they play an important role in shaping our children’s lives,” said Rep. Helene Keeley, D-Wilmington South. “This additional funding will allow them to continue the great work they already do and to better meet the needs of our city’s youth.”

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