The community benefits from funding inner city youth organizations such as, Tri-State Glitter, Inc., because attending after school programs hosted by inner city youth groups improve students’ academic performance, reduces criminal behavior and drug use, improves health, and increases work productivity of parents with kids in after school programs.
After school programs grew in era of accountability and outcome based judgement, which has led to a lot of research, tracking and evaluations of programs all across the country. This has resulted in a reasonable set of basics that assess the potential of success of after-school programs, and the positive effects of after-school programs. The knowledge and skill sets needed to be successful can and does come from consistent and sustained participation in well structured, and well funded after school programs.
We have converged these traditions into an after-school program with a wide range of goals, such as academic enrichment, tutoring/ homework help, arts based programs, mentoring, STEM/ science/ math programs, social and emotional development, healthy lifestyle development, as well as civic engagement and involvement.
Our After-school program has the potential of bringing a wide range of benefits to communities, youth, and their families particularly for disadvantaged children and youth.
Students who regularly participated in after school programs surpass their peers in academic performance by improving attendance and lowering the chance students dropping out of school, provides an environment where students are able to explore diverse interest, and providing a less informal place for students to get help and ask questions during tutoring or mentoring sessions. After school programs improve student’s attendance by not only providing opportunities our students to study and work on their homework, but by providing a more comfortable less formal environment where students feel more comfortable asking questions and don’t feel as judged for not knowing. Many after school programs also are able to introduce students to trades, mathematics, and science in less formal hands on environments that spark interest for the student, leading to excitement about subjects, gained confidence in those subject areas, and less absent days caused by skipping because the child is now more interested in the learning process.
Juvenile delinquency/ Criminal behavior/ Drug use
The nation is seeing a spike in crime rate, which research suggest can be attributed to reduced funding of crime prevention programs, and the availability of quality after-school programs. While most parents are working, “Latch Key kids”, children left unattended and without supervision, have anywhere from 20- 25 hours per week during after school hours which results in self-care and boredom, if they are not involved in after school programs. This self-care and boredom can increase the likelihood that a kid will experiment with juvenile delinquent behavior by as much as 50%.
Studies show that after school programs help reduce juvenile crime by providing positive and constructive outlets and alternative to gangs, reduce petty crimes caused by peer pressure, and reduces the likely hood kids would be involved in violent crimes during peak hours of juvenile crime from 2pm to 6pm. Kids aged 12 to 15 who do not participate in after-school programs are nearly 3 times more likely to skip classes at school, be suspended, use marijuana and other addictive drugs such as tobacco and alcohol, and engage in sexual activity, than teens with sustained participation in after-school programs.
Compared to participants with similar profiles, Latch key kids aged 12 to 15, kids in after-school programs were less likely to commit first offenses, and participants with histories in the juvenile justice system were less likely to recidivate
“Schools cannot be the only magic bullet for kids. They need to be healthy, they need to be in adequate housing, and they need their emotional needs met, they need their nutritional needs met. And the schools can do that only in partnership with other agencies.” –Judith Johnson, Superintendent, Peekskill, New York
After-school programs play an important role in helping keeps kids physically active, encouraging healthy habits, and reducing childhood obesity at a young age. By providing a place and activities for youth to burn energy through physical activities. Funding from the community is important, because it provides the ability of after-school programs to provide healthy after school snacks to latch key kids, this is especially important during the middle school years.
Working Families and business, thus the community, also gain benefits from well-funded after-school programs by providing children a safe place to go while parents are at work. Children of working parents that participated in after-school programs prevented parents from missing an average of 8 work days per year, saving business across the country around 300 Billion a year in lost work productivity. Parents surveyed showed 3 quarters of the parents worried less about their child safety, had more energy, and saved time. Resulting in less stress, better work environments, and additional income back into the homes when the programs were funded by the community, by saving on childcare cost. Parents in the study reported the after-school programs helped them balance work/ family life, 94% said the program was convenient, 59% said the after-school programs allowed them to keep their job, and 54% said by their children participating in after-school programs it allowed them to work more hours.