More Santa Monica students will be able to participate in after-school programs at the local Boys & Girls Club thanks to a $7,500 grant from retail giant JCPenney. The grant is part of a larger $5 million grant distribution benefiting the YMCA of the USA, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, National 4-H and FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology).

Through these organizations, JCPenney is assisting families with children who are currently not enrolled in after-school services or are on the verge of withdrawing due to financial hardship.

“The support of our customers, associates and suppliers makes it possible for JCPenney Afterschool to provide our local youth with these opportunities,” said Matt Taylor, manager of JCPenney at Fox Hills Mall in Culver City. “Participating in an after-school program does far more than keep kids safe. It engages them in a positive learning environment that helps them reach their full potential in life.”

According to the “America After 3PM” report released by the Afterschool Alliance in conjunction with JCPenney Afterschool, one out of every four children in America is on his/her own between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. each school day. The report shows that a vast majority of parents seek the resources to engage their kids with adult role models who help foster their social, physical and academic development.

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