The following is an exerpt from a guest blog posted on afterschoolalliance.org that emphasizes the critical need for afterschool programs. Read the blog in its entirety.
We recently had the opportunity to release a new report, A Blueprint for a Stronger America, which includes four key policy approaches that will set the stage for strengthening our nation. We brought that message to policymakers on Capitol Hill, with our members emphasizing the pivotal relationship between the policy approaches and the next generation’s long-term success.
One of these critical approaches is to provide effective afterschool programs that give young people an opportunity to build their academic and social skills while keeping them away from potentially dangerous scenarios.
Research tells us that juvenile crime peaks in the hours immediately after school, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m. That’s why high-quality afterschool programs are so crucial in helping students steer clear of crime and develop their academic and social skills: these programs focus on the “prime time for juvenile crime,” diverting young people away from unsupervised situations and toward productive, educational activities.
[W]e know from research that afterschool programs can lead to healthier habits, including decreases in substance use, and increased opportunities for physical activity. Moreover, a meta-analysis of 68 afterschool programs across the country found that nearly 3 in 5 students who attended such programs had improved behavior in and outside of the classroom, and also performed better in math and reading, had higher GPAs, better school attendance, and were more likely to earn credits toward graduation.