How Budget Cuts to California After School Programs Affect San Francisco Non-Profits

January 10, 2018

What’s The Low Down?

Budget cutbacks on state funding have been threatening the viability of afterschool programs all across America. Particularly in California, many nonprofit organizations geared towards providing assistance to low-income families are at a brink of losing much needed funds to keep their programs running, with operational costs continuously rising alongside state subsidies being on the verge of being curtailed.

As of late 2017, the state and city funding for TEL HI’s afterschool and summer programs have been cut by $160k, while we were able to make some of this up we are still approximately $30,000 short, putting us at a massive deficit. Many of TEL HI’s programs are free to low-income families; without sufficient funding, we are exposed to a big risk of having to cut back on programs which help kids from the North Beach, Chinatown, and Fisherman’s Wharf communities in terms of school projects, homework, sports development, meal assistance, and generally keeping kids off the streets.

How This Impacts Our Community

A 2007 study by CREEST about LA’s BEST afterschool program found that the primary positive impact of having such programs was being able to prevent juvenile crime. If one would take the perspective of seeing the bigger picture, what’s apparent is that the cost savings correlated with crime prevention, aiding students graduate from high school, and guiding them towards good, productive lives as citizens more than pays for such programs.

Families who suffer from liquid asset poverty are unable to afford providing their children with good nutritional food, tutoring lessons, or extracurricular activities, all of which help enhance children’s quality of life. It’s so easy to turn a blind eye on such things, especially without understanding the social impact this has on our community.

The hard and sad truth is that youth who do not have access to these types of resources are often marginalized in the school system, leading them into being recruited by street gangs, leaving them with little hope of being able to complete high school, let alone college. Having access to good afterschool programs create options for parents and caregivers alike, who work for a living, to be able to put their kids on a good track where they end up coming out of school ready for great careers.

What We Need

2018 is just around the corner. Everyone of us at TEL HI are really excited for the programs and projects we have in store in the coming year; yet with this comes a niggling fear of whether or not we would be able to sustain it given the current budgetary conditions. We call to everyone, especially those within the San Francisco community to extend a helping hand so that we can make sure that we are able to continue supporting our local youth. So, what exactly do we need help with? Let us go into detail…  

Make up for lost funding

As previously mentioned, the recent $160k budget cut from the government has made it even harder for TEL HI to keep its afterschool programs afloat. TEL HI’s funds are used towards providing programs and services for the seniors, families, youth and children in our community. Thanks to our supporters, we were able to raise some of the lost funding, but we are still in deficit by $30,000.

Grow Current and Invest in New Programs

Apart from youth-oriented programs, our community is in dire need of senior and family services. Part of our short-term goals is to be able to expand our services by enhancing current programs and providing new ones for the youth, families, and seniors of San Francisco.

Provide Better Access to Technology

As we start building our STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) program, TEL HI aims to renovate its computer lab to turn it into a “Technology Hub” and purchase new mobile devices such as tablets and iPads which are to be used for educational purposes.

Not only will this be beneficial to our community’s youth, but also to seniors as we teach them how to use such devices and different mobile apps that can make life a whole lot easier, while giving them a way to keep up with today’s fast-moving world. Not only that, TEL HI also offers open computer lab hours to allow people without access to computer or the internet the opportunity to use our facilities for free.

How You Can Help

Funding for our afterschool programs is absolutely critical to the long-term success of our community members, young and old. We would like to call upon your help in keeping our programs alive and growing.

If you need further information on how you can best support TEL HI Center, you may contact us at (415) 580-7222.