Why Afterschool Matters

Last Updated by The Indiana Afterschool Network on

According to Afterschool Alliance, up to 30 percent of Indiana’s school-age children, including kindergartners, are left unsupervised in the afternoons. These are peak hours for juvenile crime and experimentation with drugs, alcohol, and sex. After school and out of school programs serve an important role in communities: keeping kid’s safe, inspiring learning, and helping working families.

In Indiana, more than 123,163 children participate in high-quality afterschool and summer programs.  These out-of-school-time (OST) programs take place in all types of venues. Programs can occur before school, after school, on holidays, weekends and during the summer. OST programs offer learning and enrichment activities from academic pursuits to physical and social development. And, for many kids, these programs are the only opportunity for a healthy meal outside school.

Afterschool time programs re-imagine how, where and when our young people learn. Youth spend only 20% of their waking hours in school. How they invest the other 80% of their time is a game-changer. Studies show affluent youth experience 6,000 more hours of enrichment and learning compared to their low-income peers by the 8th grade. High-quality afterschool learning hours can turn this inequity around.

Afterschool and summer programs can add 1080 hours of learning to the year. That adds up to 144 additional school days. Those in out-of-school time programs have better grades, attendance, behaviors and college/career attainment. Based on an extensive study by Indiana University 2014-2015, the majority of children and youth in these programs showed improved grades in math and English language.

Out-of-school time programs keep young people safe during the highest crime time hours of 3 -6PM on weekdays. Those in afterschool programs are less likely to use drugs, become teen parents, or be victims or perpetrators of crime.

Parents are better workers when their children are engaged in quality programs. Working parents miss an average of eight days a year due to a lack of afterschool care for their children. Funding for these after school, before school, and summer learning programs is provided by the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program. Many programs are able to be provided at low-cost or no-cost to families.

Demand for after school programs is high. For every child in an afterschool program, two are waiting to get in. Equal access to afterschool and summer programs closes the opportunity gap and gives our young people more time for hands-on learning, physical activity, and building skills for the future.

Afterschool programs provide vital supports for communities: offering affordable care for parents, decreasing juvenile crime, drug use, and teen pregnancy, and providing high-quality learning and enrichment for all students, especially those from low-income families.

Learn more about afterschool in Indiana, and how you can be a champion for afterschool and summer learning: http://www.indianaafterschool.org/

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The Indiana Afterschool Network is a nonprofit organization that champions afterschool & summer learning by inspiring, empowering, & connecting youth workers, partners, & advocates at state & local levels. We believe that together schools, communities, & families can create an inspiring day of learning.

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