High level of demand exists for afterschool programs in poor communities
- The report from the Afterschool Alliance found that as of 2014, about 13 percent of children in rural communities (accounting for about 1.2 million kids) participated in an afterschool program. This was up two percentage points from 2009, but still trailing the national average of 18 percent.
- There were some particularly noteworthy barriers in this study for children who live in rural areas. These barriers included affordability, lack of availability, lack of a safe way for the child to get to and from the program and simple lack of knowledge of the existence of afterschool programs.
- The Afterschool Alliance provided several recommendations for rural communities, which included a focus on raising awareness of these programs and their benefits, increased STEM programming in afterschool activities, increased overall investment in afterschool programs in rural areas and greater investment on the part of providers in these rural areas.
Each type of community faces its own challenge with regard to afterschool activities. With rural communities, their spread out nature can make it difficult for afterschool programs to thrive, especially if children’s parents can’t get them to and from the activities. Economic factors play a role just about everywhere—it is children from poor families who stand to benefit the most from these programs, but affordability can be a major issue.
Providers like Flex Academies are capable of working with schools and districts of all types and sizes to give them access to high-quality, affordable afterschool programs right in the comfort of your child’s school.