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By Gina Wilder | February 7th, 2013 - 2:36pm
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Assembly Democrats News Release

Wagner Honored in Nation's Capital as a Powerful and Effective Champion for Afterschool and Youth


Assemblywoman Wagner Recognized for Leadership, Commitment to Quality Afterschool Programming in New Jersey

(TRENTON) The nation's leading voice for quality afterschool programming, the Afterschool Alliance named Assemblywoman Connie Wagner "State Champion" at this year's 12th Annual "Breakfast of Champions," for her support and advocacy of afterschool education initiatives in New Jersey.

"For many of New Jersey's hard working families, afterschool programs are a necessity in providing a safe environment for children while parents work," said Wagner (D-Bergen, Passaic). "These programs are also an invaluable opportunity to continue to teach, share and inspire our youth to excel in school and throughout life."

The Afterschool Alliance is the only organization dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of afterschool programs and advocating for more afterschool investments. The "Breakfast of Champions" is part of the 12th annual Afterschool for All Challenge, sponsored by the Afterschool Alliance, which brings together hundreds of educators, parents, afterschool leaders and advocates from around the country for a series of events and meetings with Members of Congress.

Wagner is one of eighteen state champions awarded for their contributions to the afterschool field at the Thursday morning ceremony, which took place in Washington D.C. on Capitol Hill. Honorees received a personalized Wheaties box as a tribute to the "Breakfast of Champions" theme.

"Afterschool Alliance is to be commended for their work in education in schools and communities across the country," said Wagner. "It was an honor to be included in this year's Breakfast of Champion's ceremony."

The organization noted Wagner's dedication to supporting New Jersey's children and youth, particularly as it pertains to afterschool programs. As Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Schools, she convened a committee hearing on
"Expanded Learning Opportunities: Afterschool and Summer Learning" last December. She also currently serves on the Assembly Education and Higher Education committees.

Following the Breakfast, participants fanned out across Capitol Hill to talk to their senators and representatives about the importance of afterschool programs to children, families and communities.

"There's no question that afterschool programs are a lifeline for working parents, give our children and youth a safe place to be and inspire academic and social/emotional learning," said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. "But they also do much more. They expose kids to possible careers in the sciences or the arts, teach them the value of community service, and provide them with mentors, meals, physical activity and so much more. The people we honor as champions today are helping to educate, support and guide the young people who will be our future leaders."

To read more, please visit the New Jersey General Assembly Democratic Office Web site.

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