EFAA supports CO Proposition 119 which, if approved by Colorado voters, would create the Learning Enrichment and Academic Progress (LEAP) program to make after-school learning activities more accessible and affordable for low-income youth in Colorado.
Voters have a choice this year to help low-income families receive needed financial assistance for academic support, mental health services and enrichment programs. At EFAA, we know what that looks like for families we serve. Students struggling to read and compute at grade level can get the academic support services to catch up to their peers. Teens struggling with anxiety and depression after months of isolation and family economic woes can get the mental health support they so badly need. The girl that dreams of dancing one day on Broadway can take dance classes, gaining confidence and better grades. The boy whose parents work long hours to make ends meet can play sports instead of staying home alone watching TV.
At EFAA, we see firsthand the positive impact that access to educational support and enrichment programs outside of the regular school day has on low-income students and their families. Our afternoon children’s programs and scholarships have provided access to tutoring, enrichment activities and summer camps to families we serve. We have seen the positive impact, both in terms of academic achievement and emotional support. Our participants know this works. EFAA’s Participant Advisory Council voted unanimously in support of Prop 119 because “it would give kids more enrichment opportunities, not just academic, but also arts and other areas outside the regular curricula”. EFAA participants also shared it would “help cover some of the afternoon gap that some (low-income) working parents have”, particularly during the Covid pandemic. In light of our own experience and listening to the families we serve, EFAA is proud to support this initiative.
If Prop 119 is approved by a majority of Colorado voters, we believe it is crucial that those charged with LEAP’s implementation focus on these key areas to ensure its success: 1) address barriers to access through outreach efforts and support to ensure low-income families can access these funds for their children; 2) be transparent and accountable to Coloradans by establishing clear criteria and processes for: fund distribution, service providers’ eligibility, family prioritization based on financial need, equitable geographic distribution, and refinement of eligible programs and expenses; 3) carefully evaluate program impacts, including outcomes for children and analysis of who is benefitting from these funds; and 4) provide financial accountability for expenditures and revenues, including potential impacts on the use of funds from the State Land Trust. Taking these important steps is crucial in ensuring that the potential of Prop 119 is realized. EFAA will continue to actively work to ensure the voice and lived experience of low-income families are taken into consideration when designing and implementing this new program.
EFAA’s Board of Directors supports Proposition 119 because it moves towards a more level playing field by providing low-income parents with the choice and the resources needed for after-school academic support and enrichment activities for their children. Proposition 119 can positively change lives and fulfill the dreams of today’s children and tomorrow’s inventors, artists, doctors, or community leaders: Vote YES on Prop. 119