There are many reasons to provide afterschool programs. Afterschool programs support students’ academic achievement, promote positive behaviors, support working families, and impact the quality of the community.
Research has confirmed academic benefits related to participation in afterschool programs:
- Better attitude towards school
- Higher education aspirations
- Less tardiness
- 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
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
- Reduce other risky behaviors (smoking, alcohol abuse)
- Reduce teen pregnancy
- Boost school success and high school graduation rates
- Reduce the prevalence of obesity
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:
- Less stressed
- Fewer unscheduled absences
- Improved productivity at work.
Web Resources Supporting the Benefits of Afterschool for Children/Youth, 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.
American Youth Policy Forum contains research on out-of-school time programs and how they are effective in improving youth skills and outcomes.
Coalition for Community Schools defines the concept of a community school and the positive results achieved in successful community school programs.
Harvard Family Research Project contains information on strengthening family, school, and community partnerships. It also specializes in early childhood care and education, promotes evaluation and accountability, and professional development resources.
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.