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Monday

July 2014

28

AfterSchool Programs a Pathway of Opportunity

Afterschool Programs a Pathway of Opportunity

Every opportunity to allow a child a more successful future is one worth great investment. Whether it be your own child, a niece, cousin or friend everyone knows a child that they desire to see succeed in life. Over and over again educational after-school programs have been geared and developed to promote success of children.

Personally, I attended a middle class elementary school and remember when I was in 6th grade that I desperately struggled with math. Unlike many students, in WI and all over the U.S., I was able to participate in an afterschool tutoring program recommended to me by a teacher who saw I needed a little motivation. Since I was struggling with math and had just transferred to a new school the afterschool tutoring program opened a door of opportunity for me. Throughout this program I was able to meet others who also needed help and presented the opportunity of friendship with my tutors and fellow program participants. Also the afterschool tutoring program gave me the confidence I needed to succeed in learning math which shown through in my higher test scores and grades. This makes me stop and wonder if I would have been as successful if my parents wouldn’t have allowed me to sign up for this afterschool program and if the school wouldn’t have budgeted for this program. This very kind decision was one that increased my possibility at a successful future.

According to Afterschool Alliance, (1) studies show that 15.1 million children in the United States are left unsupervised after school at the end of the day. Not only are these afterschool programs expanding the minds of children but it is giving peace of mind to working parents unable to be home with children during after school hours. Also studies (1) have shown that children participating in afterschool programs saw drastic differences compared to those of non participating children. Results have been positive such as fewer reports from teachers concerning misconduct such as drug and alcohol use, improved attendance and test scores, better behavior and health, and an increase in working family’s stability. Out of the 8.4 million children participating in afterschool programs 3.4 million come from low-income families. These programs provide a glimpse of hope for those children who don’t see a better future because of their economic status. An enormous amount of around 18.5 million children say that they would participate in an afterschool program if it were available to them (1). I think that allowing children to seize an opportunity to better their future should be everyone’s priority. Just opening the door of opportunity one time for a child could change their entire outcome.

It is vital to remember the importance of afterschool programs. These programs are the gateway to a successful future for all children especially those who are at a disadvantage. More than ever children need an advocate to step up and speak out to let school districts, local and state officials know that they need more programs and a larger budget for all students desiring to better themselves. Just by simply encouraging your children or other children that you know to participate in these afterschool programs can open doors for more afterschool programs. Please take action and help children who can’t speak for themselves. Through personal experience I know how impactful afterschool programs can be. Nurturing a caterpillar into a butterfly takes a cocoon and afterschool programs reflect the butterfly transformation of a student’s future potential.




References
1. Afterschool programs keep kids safe, engage kids in learning and help working families . (2013). Retrieved from
http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/National_fact_sheet_04_03_13.pdf




 


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