Nine in ten adults say after-school programs are important to their community. There are many benefits of after-school enrichment programs, from building on different skill sets to inspiring future career paths and improving school-day attendance. This article highlights a few of the ways that after-school enrichment programs help today’s youth.
1. Improve school-day attendance
Research has repeatedly revealed that after-school programs improve school-day attendance. A study on AfterZone, an after-school program in Providence, Rhode Island, found that enrolled students had 25% fewer school absences than their peers.
After-school programs provide the opportunity for students to socialize with their peers and develop an increased sense of belonging at school. In addition, programs help establish a clear link between effort and results outside the school environment which encourages the same effort in the classroom.
2. Build foundational skills
The National Conference of State Legislatures indicated that the top five foundational skills developed by after-school programs are teamwork, communication, problem-solving, self-confidence, and critical thinking.
The NCSL survey also shared the following statistics:
- 89% of survey respondents reported that after-school programs improve teamwork skills
- 87% said after-school programs grow self-confidence “a lot”
- 81% said after-school programs help improve communication skills
3. Improve work habits and grades
After-school programs improve not only school-day attendance but also work habits and grades. One in two students who regularly attend an after-school program improved their math and reading grades. More than 68% of students improved their homework completion rates and class participation.
4. Inspire higher graduation rates
Other major benefits to after-school programs are decreased dropout rates and increased graduation rates. 77% of parents in one study believe that after-school programs reduce high school dropout rates and increase the number of students who receive a diploma.
5. Explore different career paths
Students who regularly attend after-school programs are also more likely to explore different career paths. Enrichment programs create a safe space where students can explore new interest areas and build confidence in their abilities. These programs also promote workforce development by helping students learn critical skills and explore different career interests.
6. Reduce crime and delinquency
One in five kids in America is alone between 3-6 p.m., which increases their likelihood of engaging in risky behavior. Unsupervised children are three times more likely to skip classes or experiment with drugs. After-school programs ultimately reduce crime and delinquency by providing students with access to a safe, supervised space between the hours of 3-6 p.m.
There are a number of benefits of after-school enrichment programs—and these programs are even more beneficial with the right resources in place. In addition to running enrichment programs and complying with reporting requirements, after-school program directors are tasked with securing funding to keep the lights on and ensure long-term program sustainability. Every after-school program director needs a grants management plan in place to maintain funding and sustain the program.
Download our Guide to Creating a Successful Educational Grants Management Plan for Your After-School Program to learn more about taking proactive steps to ensure long-term funding and program sustainability.