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Arnold Schwarzenegger Demands Funding For After-school Programs

The former California governor called on Congress to preserve federal funding for after-school programs at a national summit at USC. ATVN's Marc Sallinger reports.

For the After School All Stars from Bell Gardens Intermediate school, today's performance was their biggest one yet. 

"It was fun, it was pretty amazing, nerve-racking," said 13-year-old Adrian Ochoa. 

The group is part of an after-school program that focuses on exposing students to the arts. Jesse Mendoza is a teacher at Bell Gardens Intermediate School and also the choreographer for the dance team. 

“The after-school program means everything,” said Mendoza. “I work with kids at-risk and these kids find a different passion through the arts, particularly dance, but there’s other aspects of the arts that they do.”

Mendoza says the programs help keep kids on the right track by allowing them to stay entertained after school lets out. 

“Sadly, and I know because I am the councilman there,” said Mendoza, “we have a gang problem and other things going on in our city, and we’re trying to avoid that by keeping them busy after school.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger attended the National After-School Summit Tuesday held at USC to speak about the importance of after school programs. 

“The future is very grim if you cut after-school programs and if the funding is not available because then that means that all of those kids would be not having after-school programs and a lot of them would be floating around on the streets,” said Schwarzenegger. 

The Summit comes as members of Congress are considering cutting up to a billion dollars of funding for the programs. 

Ten million students nationwide participate in after-school programs. The USC Schwarzenegger foundation says that 20 million more students would like to participate in programs, but a lack of funding does not allow them to. 

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