Importance of After-School Programs
“There are approximately forty nine million children and youth, ages 6-17 living in the U.S.” (“Making the Case” 1). Children need care while they are in the initial stages of growth and development. Whether this care is provided by a mother, father, sibling, or other guardian, a child needs to be loved. When children turn a certain age, the care of the family is added to by caregivers in another institution. While attending school, children are shown care for the duration of the day by teachers, mentors, and other aids. This is a productive time for the children’s development because they are being nurtured in a well rounded, safe environment. This environment provides initial academic installment as well as nurture and growth.
This safe, enriching, productive school time ends at about 3 p.m. What happens when the school bell rings? Where do the children go when they are forced to leave this institution? “The reality in America today is that forty four percent of families do not have safe, supervised places for their children to go after school on a regular basis, according to the Afterschool Alliance and sponsored by the JC Penney Afterschool Fund” (“Building and Sustaining” 1) . With that many children unsafe, it can be assumed that there is a need for somewhere for children to go once they are forced to leave their schools.
Many other statistics imply a need for some kind of place to adopt unsupervised children during the after- school hours. About 7 out of 10 school age children are part of families where both parents are working fulltime, or the only parent in the household is working full- time (Newman 17). In addition, there are about eleven million children in America who are left without adult supervision after school on a regular basis. About 4 million of these children are between the ages of six and twelve and over 4 million of these children are between the ages of thirteen and fourteen (Newman 4). There is a solution to assisting the needs of unsupervised children in the hours after school. With effort, there is a place that can provide a fulfilling and nurturing environment for the children that could otherwise be left in danger. After- school programs are increasing in number, and are catering to different children’s interests and needs. After- school programs, such as The Bridge Project are important for children ages 6-17 because they are cost effective, reduce juvenile crime rates, and raise academic success. These results are granted through attendance, providing enriching experiences, and extending academics into the after- school hours.
After- school programs have been around for long time. However, their initial purpose was different than what is demanded in today’s society. The after school program was originally developed in urban communities in response to the decline in child labor and the rise in mandatory schooling. This combination altered the day of an...