Barletta Secures SHINE Eligibility for Federal Grants
Rep. Barletta was presented with an Afterschool Hero cape by Mia Zamudio, a SHINE student from Jim Thorpe, PA, as part of his recognition in May by the Afterschool Alliance.
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today negotiated a change in the language of a bill about youth opportunity to enable afterschool programs – like the successful SHINE (Schools and Homes in Education) program in Pennsylvania – to compete for federal grants to states to help keep students steered on the right path. During consideration of the Supporting Youth Opportunity and Preventing Delinquency Act (H.R. 5693) in the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Barletta succeeded in inserting afterschool programs into the list of eligible recipients of funds. The change means that states will be eligible to compete for five-year grants to help local leaders meet specific needs in keeping students headed in the right direction through programs such as SHINE. The bill passed the committee by a voice vote and now heads to the full House of Representatives for its consideration.
“SHINE has already shown its value in the number of young lives it is positively impacting,” Barletta said. “When you awaken the minds of young children with hope and possibility of what their future can be, there’s no stopping them. That’s what SHINE does, and I am proud to help clear the way for more kids to be successful.”
SHINE has already been a success in Schuylkill and Carbon Counties and expanded to Luzerne County last fall in the Wilkes-Barre Area, Greater Nanticoke Area and Wyoming Valley West school districts. It expanded to Hazleton earlier this year. The program, geared to grades K-8, focuses on a project-based STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) curriculum. SHINE links schools to homes to help children build a stronger academic and social foundation.
Barletta and Pennsylvania State Senator John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) have championed SHINE together, working closely with Luzerne County host institution Wilkes University and its president, Patrick Leahy. Barletta was also instrumental in saving an important SHINE funding source, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program.
Beginning in February 2015, Barletta began painstakingly working to restore the 21st CCLC funding, which had been slated for elimination. Barletta, however, negotiated 14 changes to the base text of the bill in support of afterschool programs, and specifically the SHINE model, in the House Education and the Workforce Committee. He also engaged in a colloquy with committee Chairman John Kline (MN-2) to establish a record of support for such programs. On the floor of the House, Barletta spoke in support of his own successful amendment that requires school districts to report to state agencies on the use of Title I money for afterschool activities to further demonstrate the importance of such programs. Finally, when the legislation reached the conference committee, Barletta sent a letter to lead House and Senate negotiators imploring them to preserve the 21st CCLC program. As a result, the conference report passed authorized $1 billion in funding for the 21st CCLC program.
Currently, SHINE of Luzerne County serves nearly 300 students from five area school districts: Wilkes-Barre Area, Wyoming Valley West, Nanticoke Area, Hanover Area, and Hazleton Area. The existing programs in Schuylkill and Carbon Counties bring the total number of students to more than 1,000.