Happy Lights On Afterschool Day!
Today we celebrate Lights On Afterschool Day, a national Afterschool Alliance initiative designed to celebrate the important role after school programs play in the lives of children, families, and communities.
Sometimes after school can be viewed as a necessity akin to babysitting for working parents: those without after school care lose an average of eight work days a year.
But programming that takes place in the hours after school ends and before parents are able to retrieve their students has proven instrumental in the development of young people. During those critical hours, high quality after school programming can teach youth the skills needed to advance in their future careers, and to have healthy and fulfilling relationships throughout their lives.
As one parent put it, “With Creative Action, I can relax knowing that my daughter is not only somewhere safe but she is building her confidence, curiosity, courage and creativity every day. She is truly thriving in these creative hours after school, and gets to feel successful in an important way.”
The Benefits of After School Care
Consider some of the benefits of after school outside of childcare:
- Kids who take part in after school programming are more likely to graduate high school, according to the Afterschool Alliance.
- After school programs lead to better attitudes toward school and stronger school engagement; stronger school performance, as measured by standardized test scores and grades; higher rates of school attendance; fewer behavioral problems; and lower dropout rates, according to the Afterschool Alliance.
- Programs with a strong intentional focus on improving social and personal skills are found to improve students’ self-esteem and self-confidence, according to one study.
- Students in after school programs use drugs less and participate in criminal activity less often than their peers, according to UCLA National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards and Student Testing
- The students in our after school programs, experienced a wide range of benefits, including improved artistic skill, increased confidence, the ability to recognize injustice, the ability to participate in conflict resolution strategies, and the ability to envision ways to create positive change, according to our end-of-program evaluations. Review our after school program evaluations from last year here.
The Continued Need
Here in Central Texas, we serve 3,000+ youth in the hours after school at more than 50 different sites. But the need is greater. According to Afterschool Alliance, for every one student in an after school program, two more are waiting to get in. In Austin, 70 percent of students don’t have access to after school care. This at a time when federal funding to these programs has been cut in recent years.
If you believe in the transformative value of after school programming, and as we celebrate the positive effect of after school care today, consider donating to help grow our after school scholarship fund. Last year, we provided $200,000 worth of free programming to local youth and their families.