The Harvard Family Research Project uses four main areas to show the potential benefits of a strong after-school program. These four areas are: academic performance; social-emotional performance; crime, drug, and sex prevention; and health and wellness. The results showed that students who participate in extracurricular activities tend to get better grades, attend classes more, complete homework on time, and exhibit other markers of academic success. These students were also shown to clearly benefit on an emotional level by building self-esteem and social skills. The study revealed that for most kids, just having something better to do in the afternoons prevents them from using that time to drink, smoke, do drugs, have sex, or otherwise engage in delinquent activity. After-school programs also frequently focus on fitness or activeness, helping to decrease childhood obesity and keep kids healthy.
The benefits of before and after care programs like Flex are critically important now more than ever as school districts and students attempt to return to normalcy after the pandemic.