- CYITC funding helps support afterschool and summer programs where kids are not only safe, engaged, and learning, but are also fed nutritious meals through federal nutrition programs. Afterschool and summer programs that CYITC supports are eligible for federal nutrition funding to serve meals to the children and teens in their care through the Summer Food Service Program (AKA the D.C. Free Summer Meals Program) and the Afterschool Meal Program. By connecting thousands of children and teens to federally-funded meals, these nutrition programs not only reduce food insecurity and hunger, but improve nutrition, health, early childhood development, school achievement, and overall well-being. If CYITC funding were not available, many of these out-of-school time programs could fold, decrease the number of children served, or cut back on the number of days or hours programs were available. As a result, children would suffer a double loss, losing access to both enrichment programming and free meals.
- CYITC requires that all grantees receiving funding for summer programs participate in the D.C. Free Summer Meals Program, thereby wisely helping summer programs connect to federal funding. When CYITC funds summer programs, programs agree to participate in D.C. Free Summer Meals. Because of this requirement, children and teens, particularly those who rely on free school meals, can get free breakfast and lunch when school lets out for the summer at summer programs. The programs benefit financially because CYITC monies do not have to be spent on food since food is free via the D.C. Free Summer Meals Program, which is funded by federal entitlement monies. Finally, programs benefit because food helps draw children and teens into programs that keep them safe and engaged. This is a winning requirement made possible because CYITC funds and monitors a large number of sites.
By sharing best practices and helping surmount administrative hurdles, a body such as CYITC allows for a range of out-of-school time programs to more readily participate in key federal nutrition programs. In conclusion, all children in the nation’s capital deserve and need the opportunity to benefit from afterschool and summer programs that keep them challenged, learning, and safe.