Project Most, a nonprofit after-school program for elementary students in East Hampton and Springs, received a state grant for $137,500 this week.
“It’s the fifth time that Project Most has competed for the grant and the fifth time it has been successful,” said Tim Bryden, its executive director. Now in its 14th year, Project Most serves around 300 students at the John M. Marshall Elementary School and Springs School from 3 to 6 p.m., five days a week.
With $10.9 million in state grants dispersed to 68 after-school programs throughout New York State, amounts ranged from from $55,000 to $220,000. The contracts, administered by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, will begin in September.
Programs such as Project Most help fill the vital three-hour gap following dismissal and before many working parents would arrive home. Besides reducing the burden on working parents, a growing body of research shows that children who participate in high-quality after-school programs have better attendance and higher academic achievement, in addition to being less likely to be involved in risky behaviors during unsupervised after-school hours.
All told, the grant money will cover about 40 percent of Project Most’s annual budget.
“Thirty percent of New York’s youth reside in Suffolk County. Yet, only a very small portion of youth service funding is distributed to the county, especially on the East End,” said Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, who helped secure the grant money. “As a firsthand witness to the benefits Project Most brings to the East Hampton community, I am thrilled they have been selected as a recipient of this grant.”
“This community has an image of great wealth, but there’s a significant population of low-income families who are really struggling and cannot afford for their children to attend after-school services,” said Mr. Bryden. Families who can afford it contribute $45 a week per child to help offset operational costs, with scholarships provided to those who cannot.
“This grant is a tribute to the entire community for recognizing and responding to the unmet needs of the children of our community for affordable and accessible after-school services,” Mr. Bryden said.