There are many great reasons to provide afterschool programs. Afterschool programs support academic achievement, promote positive behaviors and help assist working families. Below you will find facts and resources to support your idea to start an afterschool program.
Research has confirmed academic benefits related to participation in afterschool programs:
Better attitude towards school
Higher education aspirations
Lower drop-out rates
Better performance in school (measured by test scores and grades)
Greater on-time promotion
Improved homework completion
Improved engagement in learning
To find more information on this research and benefits of out of school time, visit Harvard Family Research Project at www.hrfp.org.
The hours between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. are the peak hours for juvenile crime and experimentation with drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and sex. Afterschool programs can:
Reduce juvenile crime and violence
Reduce drug use and addiction
Cut other risky behaviors (smoking, alcohol abuse)
Reduce teen pregnancy
Boost school success and high school graduation rates
Reduce the prevalence of obesity
For more information on these outcomes, visit Fight Crime: Invest in Kids at http://www.fightcrime.org/reports/as2000.pdf.
SUPPORT FOR WORKING FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES
Afterschool programs not only benefit students, but they also benefit families and communities. The following are positive outcomes for parents with children in afterschool program:
Fewer unscheduled absences
Improved productivity at work
For access to facts, research, policies and publications, visit Afterschool Alliance at http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/).
Web Resources Supporting the Benefits of After School for Children, Families, Schools and Communities
Afterschool Alliance is a national organization dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of afterschool programs. Their vision is to ensure that all children and families have access to quality, affordable afterschool programs. http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/
Afterschool Initiative: Evaluation provides results of a National Research Center independent program evaluation. The participating youth reported improvements in positive life choices, sense of self, core values, cultural competency, life skills, community involvement and academic success.
American Youth Policy Forum contains research on out-of-school time programs and how they are effective in improving youth skills and outcomes. http://www.aypf.org/publications/HelpingYouthOST2006.pdf
Coalition for Community Schools defines the concept of a community school and the positive results achieved in successful community school programs.
Critical hours: Afterschool Programs and Educational Success explores the links between afterschool programs and positive youth development, including research findings on afterschool programs.
Fight Crime: Invest in Kids provides information on crime prevention strategies, informs the public and policymakers about those findings, and urges investment in programs proven effective by research. This site explains how afterschool programs deter negative behaviors and promote positive behaviors.
Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP) contains information on strengthening family, school, and community partnerships. HFRP also specializes in early childhood care and education, promotes evaluation and accountability, and offers professional development. They have developed a database with information on research, evaluation and program development related to out of school time.
National Institute on Out-of-School Time includes publications and research based facts on how quality afterschool programs can help young people, both academically and developmentally. The information provided would assist in establishing a need when writing a grant proposal.
Policy Studies Associates, Inc. reports on a 2-year study. Findings showed that regular participation in high-quality afterschool programs was linked to significant gains in standardized test scores and work habits as well as reductions in behavior problems among disadvantaged students.