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After-School Groups Collaborate for Community Service

Since 2006, local after-school programs gathered and collaborated for one week to work on community service activities and share resources. This year, the Greater Pittsburgh Afterschool Consortium (GPAC) has lined up 700 to 1,000 children from 10 after-school programs in the Pittsburgh area across Beaver and Allegheny Counties to participate.

Lucille Dabney, Program to Aid Citizen Enterprise's Executive Director, said that the state of the economy makes this year's consortium different than others.

"One of the reasons for starting it was to be certain that the groups could share resources, and this year with budget cutbacks that has really been beneficial because those groups who have resources are able to share them with groups who don't have resources," Dabney said. "That's been a sad thing, but exciting at the same time."

Citizens to Abolish Domestic Apartheid, Beaver County Science Camp, Schenley Heights Community Development Program, and Mooncrest Children's programs are all working together today through Saturday. The children will participate in environmentally-friendly crafts, contribute to community gardens and neighborhood clean-ups.

Dabney said all the after-school groups have a common goal of creating happy kids and influential community members.

"In addition to this week-long participation in community service they've always wanted the youth in their care to learn about what it is to return the favor and to do something for people other than themselves," Dabney said.