Countless numbers of children, school-aged youngsters, depend on the availability of after-school programs every Monday through Friday[and sometimes on Saturdays and holidays] all across the country. Parents also rely on them but we now know that neither parents nor children can take them for granted. Their very existence is being threatened, and it could be the ones in your school community. Eliminated! No more! Gone!
High quality After- School Programs generate positive outcomes for youth including improved academic performance, classroom behavior, and health and nutrition. Communities and businesses also benefit when youth have safe and productive ways to spend their time while their parents are at work.
After-school programs (sometimes called Out-of-School Time) serve children and youth of all ages, and encompass a broad range of focus areas including academic support, mentoring, youth development, arts, and sports and recreation. The activities in which children and youth engage while outside of school hours are critical to their development, highlighting the need for quality after-school programs in all communities. The demand for after-school programs is strong; current estimates suggest that nearly 10 million children and youth participate in after-school programs annually.
In neighborhoods where community resources and safe, structured environments are scarce for school-aged children, after-school programs are an essential service. In these programs, beginning immediately after the school bell rings for dismissal, after-school centers are there. They are a continuation of the regular school day.
The instruction is less intense, but the learning is reinforced. Classroom instruction is supplemented in the form of homework help and individual and group tutoring and academic assistance. Children receive nutritious snacks and engage in supervised activities, usually not offered in school. Team sports, internet access, extracurricular clubs and other youth groups are supported by these programs, too.
When children have to go home to empty apartments, where there is no adult supervision, parents can rest in the knowledge that their children are well-cared for after school. In neighborhoods where violence is a problem, these are safe spaces monitored by well-trained adult educators.
National Association for Family, School and Community Engagement[NAFSCE] joins the Afterschool Alliance and others in rejecting the Trump Administration’s proposed elimination of 21st Century Community Learning Centers and instead advocates for increased funding in fiscal year 2021 for 21st CCLCs, as well as Statewide Family Engagement Centers, and other essential programs.
We encourage you to join NAFSCE and the Afterschool Alliance in urging Congress to support these programs. As additional opportunities for advocacy on this issue arise, NAFSCE will advance them to the field. Last year, many of these programs were also de-funded in the President’s budget but received flat or increased funding in the final budget approved by Congress.
You can show your support for quality after-school programs, the continuation of 21st Century Community Learning Centers and Statewide Family Engagement Centers. Contact your elected officials in Congress to help defeat the most recent attempt to thwart the efforts to empower children, youth, families and communities. The more options and opportunities youth have for positive and healthy growth and development, the more equipped we are to alter life trajectory among those most vulnerable populations and create stronger school communities.
Urge Congress to support, not eliminate these programs! Advocate for families, children and youth! Follow the link to: