This I Believe

Maica - Sterling, Colorado
Entered on March 9, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I Believe that Kids with Someplace to Go, End Up…Going Places

I believe all school districts should be required to have some type of after school program. Each day, in the United States, as many as 15 million children depart from school with no place to go. Furthermore, every day many of these students are involved in crimes, contribute to gangs, or experiment with drugs, alcohol or sex. After school clubs engage children in activities and on-going relationships that enhance confidence and encourage success in all areas of their lives, at home, in school, and in the community.

I currently work at my local after school club, and everyday, I see the positive contributions the program makes for children. After school clubs provide academic support, recreation, arts, social skills, and conflict resolutions. We support academics by offering homework help at our program. We also offer basketball, baseball, dodge ball, jump roping, and other games students enjoying playing. We have a very large art area where students can express themselves by making crafts and coloring. We encourage students to share and engage with others. I believe it is important to teach the children to try to solve a conflict without a teacher. All of these contributions are key factors in youth success.

Non-school hours represent the largest block of time in the lives of American children. Student participation in productive learning activities during non-school hours adds significantly to their success in school. After-school programs help to reduce youth crime. Violent juvenile crime triples during the hours from 3:00 to 8:00 PM. During these same hours children face serious danger of becoming victims of crime. Unsupervised after-school hours represent a period of significant risk in other areas as well, including a bigger risk of substance abuse and early sexual activity. After school programs keep children safe, help working families, and encourage success among youth.

After school programs are crucial to have in a community because they are proven to lower youth crime rates and improve neighborhoods. After school club programs help young people succeed by providing academic support and the chance to form positive relationship. This support and these relationships create a valuable benefit for the community. I have worked at an after school club for almost three years, and I have seen the positive effect the program has had on my community. The program has shaped personalities, reduced problem behavior, and raised academic abilities.