Mary Beth Burkes lives in Buchanan County, Va., a depressed coal-mining region where 1 in 4 families lives in poverty and where her autistic son gets extra help in the after-school program at his school.
Burkes says the program has been a godsend for her and other parents, because they know their children are in a safe place after school. "Their parents work," she says. "There is no day care in this area."
But in his budget for next year, President Trump wants to eliminate this nationwide after-school program for low-income children, called 21st Century Community Learning Centers.
Budget Director Mick Mulvaney says there's no evidence the $1.2 billion-a-year program works.
"When we took your money from you, to say, 'Look, we're going to go spend it on an after-school program,' the way we justified it was, 'These programs are going to help these kids do better in school and get better jobs.' And we can't prove that that's happening," he told reporters.
But participants like Mary Beth Burkes say, to them, the evidence is clear: Struggling kids are getting some much-needed help.
Burkes thinks the administration position is ill-informed. "They do not live in rural America and they don't live in the Appalachian mountains," she says.
At her son's school, Riverview, which is both an elementary and middle school, about 80 children a day attend the program, which serves 1.8 million students in high-poverty, low-performing schools around the country.
Each day, the kids get a healthy snack, then an hour of help with subjects like English and math, and another hour doing something extra like cooking or robotics.
Teachers say the beauty of the program is that kids get to work with each other in small groups, doing things they might not otherwise get to do. Kay Ratliff, a teacher here, points to one boy, as he eagerly explains rational numbers to another child. She says the boy never talks in class during the day, but thrives after school.