Studies show that out-of-school time directly affects youth behavior and academic success. School progress and achievement often reflect how their time outside of school is structured. Programming that engages youth in learning keeps them on track for success. After school enrichment is one of the most important factors affecting students' school performance, affording youth access to mentors, allowing them to learn new skills, and to engage in activities that build confidence.
United Way helps children and youth achieve their potential with the understanding that education is the foundation for a good life, setting the individual on a path of personal fulfillment, economic security and societal contribution.
By keeping youth occupied with activities to stimulate their minds, they are engaged and focused while improving social skills and grades.
- Inequities in summer learning are a major contributor to the achievement gap between high and low-income students. High-quality, effective programs that provide enriched learning opportunities are often costly, making them unattainable for low-income families. The long summer break is a precarious time when many children fall behind academically and lose the nutritious meals, supervision, and structure that school provides. (America After 3PM, 2009)
- Teens who do not participate in after school programs are nearly three times more likely to skip classes than teens who do participate. They are also three times more likely to use marijuana or other drugs, and are more likely to drink, smoke and engage in sexual activity. (YMCA of the USA, March 2011)
- 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. (After-School All-stars, 2011)
- A compliment of early education and participation in after school programs can reduce initiating drug use among youth by nearly 50 percent (45.8) while reducing the likelihood of them skipping school by half. (Investing in Our Young People, University of Chicago, 2006)
Every child will have opportunities to participate in safe, high quality after school, weekend and summer programming that is conveniently located and/or easily accessible with age-appropriate content that meets the needs and interests of local school-age youth.