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After-school programs reach some, but not enough, experts say

by Bree Tracey
Oct 20, 2009


Related Links

YMCA Chicago Community Schools ProgramChicago Public Schools Afterschool ProgramsSGA Youth and Family Services

Top 10 states for after-school programs:

- Hawaii
- Arizona
- New York
- California
- New Jersey
- Virginia
- New Mexico
- Florida
- Texas
- North Carolina

Source: Afterschool Alliance report "America After 3PM"


'America After 3PM' Illinois statistics:

- 44 percent of all Illinois children not in after-school  programs would be likely to participate if an after-school program were available in the community, regardless of their current care arrangement.

 

 

 

 

 

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The percentage of parents extremely/somewhat satisfied with after-school programs in the state of Illinois dropped from 94 percent in 2004 to 74 percent for 2009.

 

The percentage of parents extremely/somewhat satisfied with after-school programs in the state of Illinois dropped from 94 percent in 2004 to 74 percent for 2009.

 

The percentage of parents extremely/somewhat satisfied with after-school programs in the state of Illinois dropped from 94 percent in 2004 to 74 percent for 2009.

 

The percentage of parents extremely/somewhat satisfied with after-school programs in the state of Illinois dropped from 94 percent in 2004 to 74 percent for 2009.

 

The percentage of parents extremely/somewhat satisfied with after-school programs in the state of Illinois dropped from 94 percent in 2004 to 74 percent for 2009.

 

- 28 percent of Illinois’ K-12 children are responsible for taking care of themselves after school, a statistic that has raised 2 percentage points since 2004.  These children spend an average of 6 hours per week unsupervised after school.

 

 

 

 

 

 


The murder of 16-year-old Derrion Albert has brought new urgency to finding solutions to youth violence, including the promise from Mayor Richard M. Daley of an additional $1 million for after-school jobs.

After-school activities, including jobs, athletics and academic enrichment programs have long been viewed as at least a partial solution to youth violence. After-school activities provide supervision and adult mentoring to students, experts say.

“They’re learning how to conduct themselves appropriately. These are all things you can’t teach in a math class,” said Ronald Migalski of SGA Youth & Family Services. “There’s experiential learning that is invaluable that you can’t grade.”

More than a quarter of children in America – an estimated 15 million -- are alone and unsupervised after school, according to the Afterschool Alliance report “America After 3PM.”

Students are most at risk from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., said Erica Harris, an officer with Chicago Public School’s Office of Extended Learning Opportunities.

“They are looking for strong relationships between themselves and their peers or themselves and their teachers,” Harris said about the value of afterschool programs. “After school programs provide these relationships.”

The Office of Extended Learning Opportunities supports six after-school initiatives that provide year-round programming outside of the regular school day, operating three to four hours a day, five to six days per week.

After School Matters Chicago is one of the six programs. Run by a non-profit organization, it offers hands-on job training in the arts, sports, technology, communications and science, providing mentors to underprivileged students in each area.

“This year, After School Matters is offering 25,000 programming slots to Chicago high school teens at 57 campus locations and more than 100 community-based organizations,”
David Sinski, the executive director of After School Matters, said in a statement.

Despite the size of After School Matters and more in the other programs, there is unanswered demand. Harris said that even with a $55 million budget for her office, there are 40,000 students on a wait-list to enroll in these programs.

“CPS is not the only entity doing things for students,” Harris said.

Helping fill in the gaps are programs like the YMCA’s Community Schools Initiative, designed to provide services to youth and adults within Chicago public elementary schools. However, even this program, which has activities ranging from academic enrichment, personal finance workshops, fitness classes, health clinics and computer literacy, has a wait-list, said Sharon Covey, executive director for community schools at the YMCA.

“Just understand how vitally important after-school programs are for our kids,” Covey said. “It is the answer to keeping kids off the street.”

SGA Youth & Family Services was picked to develop after-school programs at Fenger High School, the school Albert attended, just a few weeks before his murder, said SGA’s Migalski.

“With the timing, we didn’t get a chance to establish. Everything sort of stops,” Migalski said. “Everyone goes into crisis mode and you have to have a crisis response team in place for students and faculty.”