11/21/2012 06:47 EST | Updated 01/21/2013 05:12 EST

Province expands after school program in Toronto and into Greater Toronto Area

TORONTO - After school programs are expanding in Toronto's priority neighbourhoods and into the Greater Toronto Area in York, Peel, Durham and Halton regions.

Tourism, Culture and Sports Minister Michael Chan says the expansion will help 2,100 more children in 64 locations get the chance to participate in after school programs.

The after school program is part of the government's Youth Action Plan, which is aimed at getting guns and gangs off the streets by providing positive alternatives for youth.

The program focuses on physical activity, healthy eating and nutrition education, and personal health and wellness education.

Chan calls the program an incubator of talent that will launch young people into successful adulthood and help them compete on the world stage.

Russell Scott of the Boys and Girls Club of East Scarborough in Toronto says the after school programs provide a healthy snack, help students with homework, have sports programs and offer special activities such as visual art and dance.

Armando Drummond, 16, says he's been an active member at the Boys and Girls Club of East Scarborough since he was two years old and has seen the benefit of an after school program in his life.

"I think that the varieties that they share here at the club really betters you," he said.