Xposure on ABC TV

By Art McFarland

- In an Eyewitness News Extra, we take a look at a unique after school program for young children.

Instead of reading and writing, this program teaches lessons like how to balance a checkbook and learning a good work ethic — lessons that last a lifetime.

And here’s the best part: the program pays the students real money. Students in the after school program called “Exposure” are required to punch a time clock.

“They earn money when they’re here … but it’s based on the jobs they hold while they’re here,” They are able to draw a salary of $6 dollars a week. Those willing to work as so-called junior tutors can earn $10 dollars a week.

 

“I feel very confident … we get to experience things that we haven’t learned before,” student Jaidae Bailey said.

They are regularly taken to a local bank and put a portion of their earnings into savings accounts. Ray Thomas is the founder of the pilot program, which received a $300,000 dollar grant from the Landsa Foundation to serve up to 100 students over the next three years.

There are 50 so far, most from P.S. 81 in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, all chosen for their commitment. “I’m in fifth grade right now and I want to get more education than play … so I’d rather be here learning about different things than playin’ around,” student Dangelo Jordan said. “I can just see them bursting with excitement and I’ve seen growth and I’ve seen change,” principal Cheryl Ault said.

The program not only expects a strong commitment from its students, but from their parents as well, who are expected to come here at least once during the school year to volunteer their services.

“It’s going to change the future of our neighborhood for sure … these kids are educated on these things long before they get the chance to actually thrown into real life,” parent Tracey Brown said. ‘Exposure’ could soon be expanded to other schools.