High level of demand exists for afterschool programs in poor communities
- According to the Afterschool Alliance report, for every child living in a community of concentrated poverty that participates in an afterschool program, there are two waiting to get in. About 80 percent of parents in these communities agree afterschool programs help them keep their jobs, and they support funding for these types of programs. The demand is particularly high among families of color, who are more likely than white families to live in areas of concentrated poverty.
- The report overviews several barriers to participation in afterschool programs. One is a simple lack of programs that exist in these communities, but cost is also a major concern. More than 60 percent of parents in these communities agree that economic conditions make it a struggle for them to afford afterschool programs, versus less than half of parents in other areas. Ability to get to and from these programs safely is also a concern.
- Proposed solutions in the article include raising awareness of the benefits of afterschool programs and encouraging afterschool program providers to invest in underserved communities. Schools can also create better relationships with providers and then direct children and families to these programs.
There have been numerous studies that have shown that children who do not participate in afterschool programs are significantly more at risk of getting involved in risky behaviors such as drug or alcohol use or criminal activity. This is especially true in communities of concentrated poverty. Afterschool programs can keep children safe and focused on positive learning outlets. Therefore, overcoming the barriers that exist for families in poverty to get their children into these programs should be a priority for all school districts.
Flex Academies brings high-quality afterschool programs directly to your school, eliminating the concern about safe traveling in between school and program locations. Program rates are also much more affordable than those of other providers.