Mayors, Local Leaders Highlight Afterschool & Summer Program

May 12, 2014

Buffalo – The New York State Cradle to Career Alliance at SUNY and New York State Afterschool Network (NYSAN) today hosted a first-of-its-kind summit in Western New York, bringing together mayors and other local leaders from across the state to highlight best practices and explore the most effective ways in which cities can support, build, and sustain high-quality afterschool and summer programs that address the needs of children, families, and communities.

Hosted by Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, local leaders in attendance included Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren, Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano, United Way of Buffalo and Erie County President Michael Weiner, Massena Police Chief Timmy Currier, Cayuga County Director of Health and Human Services Elane Daly, and Columbia County Legislator William Hughes.

“To be successful in college and career, it is imperative that today’s youth have access to effective, collaborative support systems, in and out of school, for the span of the education pipeline,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “Today’s summit is evidence that cities and communities across New York are coming together to ensure that systems are in place to better serve students from cradle to career, and SUNY is proud to be a part of the synergy these partnerships are cultivating across the state.”

At today’s summit, more than 100 local leaders who champion, oversee, and operate afterschool and summer programs in cities and communities statewide highlighted effective programs, learning from one another’s best practices and exploring opportunities for replication and partnership. Leaders discussed how programs can better support student outcomes in a broad range of priorities such as academic success, economic development, workforce preparedness, public safety, and children’s health.

Mayor Brown said, “After-school and summer programs play a critical role in allowing our students to continue to learn, grow and explore outside of the classroom. Today’s summit is a reflection of our continued commitment to make sure that our city and state’s educational and youth development system remains strong, providing academic assistance and enrichment opportunities to youth and families. An investment in a child’s future is the most important investment we can make.  I’m proud of my administration’s support of a number of educational initiatives and programs, including, Say Yes Buffalo.  I thank the New York State Afterschool Network and the New York State Cradle to Career Alliance at SUNY for bringing us together for this first-of-its-kind summit in Western New York.”

Mayor Sheehan said, “Strong cities need strong schools. Schools must be equipped to prepare every student from every neighborhood for a successful life. It’s a privilege to be part of building “The Albany Promise,” the capital city’s cradle-to-career initiative. The promise that we have made to our students and families is the dedication to equity and service as part of our city’s best practices. As mayor, I remain deeply committed to driving this effort forward, and I hope that our model will ultimately prove helpful for other cities looking to undertake this work. The information and best practices collaboration that we are undertaking at today’s summit is vital to the success of these programs.”  

Mayor Warren said, “The responsibility for educating our children can’t fall solely on the schools.   That’s why the City of Rochester is taking a leading role in supplementing the educational process by offering out-of-school educational programming through our recreation centers and libraries. I look forward to learning about other best practices at this summit, and hope to return to Rochester with some exciting new ideas that we can implement for our children.”

Mayor Spano said, “In Yonkers, we know that education is the issue of greatest importance to the future of our city, and an education that prepares Yonkers students to succeed in the current economy is one that includes learning experiences inside and outside school. Working with Yonkers Thrives, I am committed to fostering strong school-community partnerships that provide our students with the support they need from cradle to career. I’m proud to share Yonkers’ work at the summit today, and look forward to working with other cities also committed to expanding educational opportunities.”

Through the Cradle to Career Alliance and its partnerships with communities and schools statewide, SUNY is now supporting 12 community partnerships across New York to mend the state’s education pipeline and support youth as they prepare for college and career.

Afterschool and summer programs play a vital role in the success of students along the educational pipeline. NYSAN has actively supported local efforts to increase access to high-quality programs through coordinated regional networks and partnerships with local initiatives. Through this summit and other joint work, NYSAN and the Alliance are ensuring that coordinated efforts around afterschool and summer programs are integrated into community-wide support systems for students and their families.

Vanessa Threatte, Executive Director of the Alliance, said, “There is widespread interest across the state in the collective impact model of supporting youth from cradle to career through the formation of community partnerships, and the Alliance is proud to foster and coordinate those efforts. Today’s focus on the services that children access outside of the classroom is especially critical to their ultimate success and development. Thank you to NYSAN and all of the local leaders who joined us today for this important conversation.”

NYSAN Executive Director Nora Niedzielski-Eichner said, “Across the state, tremendous investments are being made in afterschool and summer programs, and it is inspiring to hear today from so many local leaders who are driving community efforts to create new opportunities for our youth. We are particularly grateful to Buffalo for hosting us and providing an in-depth look at how so many partners from the city, county, school system, and community have come together to make afterschool a central part of their strategy for helping all of Buffalo’s students reach their full potential.”

About the Summit
The summit was made possible by funding from the Charles S. Mott Foundation, the Wallace Foundation, and the National League of Cities. Information, including a post-summit summary and recordings, can be found at

About the New York State Cradle to Career Alliance at SUNY
The first network of its kind nationally, the New York State Cradle to Career Alliance at SUNY serves as a central support system for cradle-to-career networks statewide, and works with interested communities in the state seeking to develop new partnerships. In partnership with StriveTogether, SUNY is helping communities all around the state to adapt a framework for civic infrastructure to serve as the foundation of their cradle to career efforts.

New York State Afterschool Network is a public-private partnership of organizations throughout the state dedicated to building a youth-serving system that increases the quality and availability of afterschool and expanded learning programs. NYSAN convenes partners and coordinates them around a common agenda focused on partnership development, policy development, and capacity building. The network connects practice with policy across a broad range of state, regional, and local partners that represent the afterschool, expanded learning, and youth development fields broadly. 

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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