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West Phila. Partnership Leading The Way For Out-of-School Activity Programs

("Mantua in Action" partners and students accept a check from Aberdeen Asset Management's charitable foundation to fund summer and after-school activities.   Credit: Pat Loeb)

(“Mantua in Action” partners and students accept a check from Aberdeen Asset Management’s charitable foundation to fund summer and after-school activities. Credit: Pat Loeb)

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia officials are hoping to expand a new model for providing after-school and summer activities for youth.

It’s not just that the city’s Recreation Department budget has been cut to the bone, with just 1½ full-time staff member per recreation center.

Deputy mayor Mike DiBerardinis says there’s a new appreciation for how important it is to get kids into activities.

“The data about out-of-school time is, if you can give kids high-quality and diverse opportunities, particularly in the middle school years, it’s a big developmental tool. They feel more connected to the neighborhood, they’re safer, they tend to do a little better in school.”

So, the recreation department has joined with a half-dozen partners to create a model program, “Mantua in Action.”  The goal is to get every middle schooler in the neighborhood doing… something!

(Kids in the "Mantua in Action" wrestling program demonstrate their skill at the Wright Recreation Center.   Credit: Pat Loeb)

(Kids in the “Mantua in Action” wrestling program demonstrate their skill at the Wright Recreation Center. Credit: Pat Loeb)

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Keith Graves, for example, wrestles.

“It’s a good way to get rid of anger and make new friends and stuff,” he tells KYW Newsradio.

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