(CNN) – President Donald Trump’s first federal budget proposal calls for 1.1 trillion dollars in spending. That includes 54 billion dollars in extra spending for defense and homeland security and the same amount in cuts that impact almost every other department, pushing some agencies’ budgets to their lowest levels in decades.
Also some federally-supported programs could be eliminated, including an after-school program for about 2 million children nationwide.
For the students at the S.L. Lewis elementary school in College Park, Georgia, when the school day is over the learning is not done. More than 130 of the students, most of whom live in low income household, are part of an after school program called Wings for kids.
It’s called Wings because the goal of the program is to encourage kids to soar.
They learn, they socialize, and they have snacks. They even have their own creed, “I want to tell you why. So help me reach the sky.”
But under President Trump’s new proposed federal budget, Wings primary source of funding would be eliminated.
There are 11 Wings for kids programs in three states, with about 1600 children participating.
Bridget Laird is the CEO of Wings, and is hurt by the President’s decision, “It makes me feel devastated. I’ve been with this organization for 19 years, and honest to goodness, it breaks my heart.”
Wings for kids gets 1.6 million dollars a year from the federal program called 21st Century Learning Centers. That program receives about 1.2 billion dollars a year from the federal government that it then gives out to after school organizations across the country. All of that money would disappear under the President’s budget plan.
Laird said, “We will not be able to operate the programs we have in the fashion we have and our kids will no longer be able to come to the program and they will go either home to unsupervised houses or their parents will have to quit their jobs and stay home.”
Jessica Williams has two daughters in the program and said without the program she wouldn’t know what to do, “I really don’t know. I would be lost.”
President Trump’s budget director declared there’s no “demonstrable evidence” after school programs help kids do better in school. The people in charge here “demonstrably” disagree.
The CEO says her organization participated in a four year old controlled study, and says it clearly had positive results on children, “It increases in positive behavior, decreases in negative behavior.”
As for the elementary schoolers, they seem blissfully unaware that it could soon be going away.