Children & Youth

School is a critical component in the lives of children and youth, but it takes up less than 20% of their time. Because parents are often still at work when the school bell rings, there is a significant amount of time every week when children are potentially unsupervised. According the latest America After 3PM—Missouri report, almost a quarter million Missouri children and youth are unsupervised after school each day. Afterschool programs help fill a gap by keeping kids safe after school is out and before their parents return home from work.

Besides just security and safety, there are many benefits that children can reap from participation in afterschool programs. Afterschool programs offer opportunities for physical activity, homework help, snacks or meals, and a variety of other enriching activities, including STEM learning opportunities, arts exploration, and other hobbies. Participation in quality afterschool and summer learning programs are also associated with better grades and conduct in school, reducing participation in risky behaviors like crime, experimentation with sex and drugs, and improving youth’s social emotional skills.

The academic benefits of participating in afterschool can be huge. As Deborah Lowe Vandell points out in her brief, Afterschool and the Achievement Gap, afterschool programs cannot only help children to improve academically, but it can almost completely minimize the achievement gap by the time students reach high school graduation.

Read more about the academic and social emotional benefits of Afterschool participation:

Preventing Dropouts: The Important Role of Afterschool (2013)

Afterschool: An Ally in Promoting Middle School Improvement (2012)

Student-Centered Learning in Afterschool: Putting Students’ Needs and Interests First (2011)

Beyond what happens in K-12, afterschool and summer learning programs can play an instrumental role in preparing the workforce of the future. Afterschool provides a unique platform for career exploration and skill development through its flexible, project-based learning environment, working with other youth and adult members of the community in groups, large and small, practicing leadership skills, and an opportunity to apply content learned in the school day to real world situations.

Read more about how Afterschool programs are preparing the workforce of tomorrow:

Afterschool: Supporting College and Career Pathways for Middle School Youth (2011)

Afterschool Programs: Helping Kids Compete in Tomorrow’s Workforce (2007)

Afterschool: A Natural Platform for Career Development (2004)

Afterschool Works

keeps kids safe, helps working families, inspires kids to learn

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