Today, millions of children return to an empty home after school. When the school bell rings, the anxiety for parents often just begins. They worry about whether their children are safe, whether they are susceptible to drugs and crime. In response to this pressing concern, many communities have created after-school programs to keep children and youth out of trouble and engaged in activities that help them learn. Recent polls have found overwhelming adult support to personally ensure access to after-school programs for children in their community.
However, a chronic shortage of quality after-school programs exists. According to parents, the need far exceeds the current supply. One recent study found that twice as many elementary and middle school parents wanted after-school programs than were currently available.
After-school programs provide a wide array of benefits to children, their families, schools, and the whole community. This report
, jointly authored by the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice, focuses exclusively on the benefits children receive in terms of increased safety, reduced risk-taking, and improved learning.
First and foremost, after-school programs keep children of all ages safe and out of trouble. The after-school hours are the time when juvenile crime hits its peak, but through attentive adult supervision, quality after-school programs can protect our children. As this report shows, in communities with comprehensive programs, children are less likely to commit crimes or to be victimized.
After-school programs also can help to improve the academic performance of participating children. For many children, their reading and math scores have improved in large part because after-school programs allow them to focus attention on areas in which they are having difficulties. Many programs connect learning to more relaxed and enriching activities, thereby improving academic performance as well.
After-school programs like Cabrini Connections
are there to do just that, enrich their lives by improving their academic performance, giving them attention, and keeping them out of trouble. If you are having trouble looking for an after-school program for you child, please consider checking out tutor mentor programs
in your area.
Jordan E. Merlo