Expanded Prime Time programs kick off summer fun, learning

Modified: June 17, 2016 3:14pm

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Today, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz was joined by Erie County Legislators Barbara Miller-Williams (1st district), Erie County Commissioner of Social Services Al Dirschberger, Director of Development & Youth Services at the Valley Community Association Lori Overdorf, and dozens of excited children at the Valley Community Center to kick off summer with the announcement of $500,000 in Operation Prime Time grants to 62 local not-for-profit agencies, an increase of approximately $80,000 from 2015.

Grants for individual agencies range from $2,614 - $10,000 and help to provide for an adult-supervised environment for the ten-week school summer recess period.

“Operation Prime Time has proven to be a great way to foster safe and positive summer experiences for thousands of children, and this year we are pleased to announce that funding for these vital programs has been increased to $500,000 in order to reach more children than ever,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “I would like to thank our partner agencies for opening their doors for extended hours and enhanced activities this summer, creating lasting summer memories for Erie County children. This is an investment in our young people that provides them with a safe and structured environment and gives their parents peace of mind.”

Commissioner of Social Services Al Dirschberger added, “This summer promises to be even more active and involved for Erie County children with the expansion of Operation Prime Time. These programs help to keep children engaged in positive activities during the summer months, socializing with peers in appropriate and safe settings and enjoying a wide variety of educational and recreational choices. Summer is a precious time for young people, and with Operation Prime Time we are helping kids create good summer memories while they engage in fun activities with their friends.”

“I am pleased to join my colleagues in announcing the release of Operation Prime Time funding. Operation Prime Time is a valuable program and resource, providing structured activities and services for our children throughout the summer months," stated Legislator Barbara Miller-Williams while noting that 25 programs in the First Legislative District will receive funding.

Primetime programs primarily serve youth in need, and offer positive development opportunities, access to safe places for summer programs, and a wide range of activities including arts, community service, recreation, and field trips that are offered by the various program participants. Programs also include educational components.

While many of the recipient programs are located in the City of Buffalo, there are others in the City of Lackawanna, the Towns of Amherst, Tonawanda, Orchard Park, Eden, Holland, and Aurora, and elsewhere.

Director of Development & Youth Services at the Valley Community Association Lori Overdorf added, “The Valley Community Association looks forward to partnering with Erie County Operation Prime Time this summer to provide youth with experiences and opportunities that they normally would not have the chance to participate in. Our program features academic and cultural enrichment activities such as art and STEM programming, music classes, literacy programming and both educational and recreational field trips. Our youth get to explore the WNY community beyond the confines of their neighborhood.”

The announcement event was held at the Valley Community Association in Buffalo. Operation Prime Time grants also assist receiving agencies in creating & staffing structured recreational activities that prevent delinquency, increase socialization, and foster respect for authority. Agencies receiving Operation Primetime funding in 2016 include: Access of WNY; Ahowi Focus Group; Be-A-Friend Program (Big Brothers Big Sisters); Blossom Garden Friends School; Boy Scouts; Boys & Girls Clubs of Buffalo, Holland, East Aurora, Eden, Orchard Park, and the Northtowns; Buffalo Urban League; Buffalo Center for Arts & Technology; Child & Adolescent Treatment Services; Community Action Organization; Computers for Children; Community Action Organization; Cradle Beach Camp; Concerned Ecumenical Ministries; Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County; Enlightenment Bookstore; F Bites; Girl Scouts of WNY; Group Ministries; Jericho Road Community Health Center; Jewish Community Center; King Urban Life Center; Lackawanna Sports & Education; Lackawanna Youth Bureau; Love Alive Fellowship Full Gospel Baptist Church; Westside Community Services; Massachusetts Avenue Project; Matt Urban Center; Metro CDC Delavan-Grider Community Center; Mt. Olive Baptist Church; Native American Community Services; North Buffalo Community Center; Northwest Buffalo Community Center; Old First Ward Community Association; Parker Academy; Peace of the City Ministries; Plymouth Crossroads; Police Athletic League of Buffalo; Resource Council of WNY; Resurrection Village Ministry; Seneca Babcock Community Association; Seneca Street Community Development Corp.; the Belle Center; the Research Foundation for SUNY Urban Studies; the Town of Hamburg; Town of Tonawanda Youth & Recreation; True CDC; Tru-Way Community Center; University District CDA; Urban Christian Ministries; Willie Hutch Jones Sports & Education; Valley Community Association; Village of Hamburg Recreation; West Side Community Services; YMCA Buffalo/Niagara; and YMCA of WNY, and Young Audiences of WNY.

For more information:

* On the Erie County Department of Social Services, visit http://www2.erie.gov/socialservices/

* On the Valley Community Association, visit http://thevalleycenter.com/