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Published On: Wed, May 16th, 2018

How to choose an after-school program which fits your child

Elementary school children are silly, full of life and tons of fun. Their energy will keep you young at heart. If you have a love for children and long to give back to the community in a very palpable way, consider starting an incredible after-school program at an elementary school in a low-income neighborhood. In many low-income neighborhoods, a lot of children are considered latch-key kids.

This means that they come home to an empty house.

They fend for themselves until bedtime.

This is because their parents have to work long, late hours to provide for the family. This is really unfortunate because a lot of children can use this time to get themselves into a lot of trouble. Idle time is never good for a child to have. To change that trajectory, it’s a good idea for them to spend a few hours in a safe environment with other children their age. It can really make a positive impact on each child and it can also bless their parents to know that their child is taken care of.

photo/ Michael Jamoluk via pixabay.com

1. Discover the need.
Choose an elementary school in a low-income neighborhood. Once you get the background clearance and paperwork to get started, find out how many children are in need of after-school care. Whether the principal sends a letter home or if they have those numbers in the front office, see if there’s a way to find out how many children are considered latch-key kids. Do the research to see if their parents would be interested in a program that kept their children entertained for a few hours a few nights each week. Once you collect the data, you’ll be able to have a better understanding of how much help and money you’ll need.

2. Find donors and get financial assistance.
Tap into your personal and professional networks to find the financial resources to support the after-school program. In most cases, latch-key kids are in this situation because their parents can’t afford to pay an extra dime to go to any other expense. Create a Patreon or GoFundMe crowdfunding situation where donors can agree to give a certain amount every single month. Whether the donation is $20 a month or $100 a month, every little bit counts. Apply for government grants in order to get funding. Do whatever you can to make sure that the parents are paying for anything. This program is meant to serve the children in the community.

Image/CDC

3. Get help.
First, it’s important to find a director to run the program. If you’re unable to be there each day to serve as the program coordinator, find someone who can. Make sure they have experience with children and have the proper certifications and recommendations to do so. Then, you’ll need support staff to take care of all of the activities. This is where volunteers come in. Reach out to the local middle and high schools to get volunteers. Most students are looking for community service hours so that they can graduate. Offer community service hours in exchange for their help. Be sure to train them first.

4. Create a curriculum.
Once you have everyone in place and have an auditorium filled with students, you need to have activities for them. Give them a variety of experiences. Invite special guests to come and talk to the students. Neill Sullivan Oakland is an incredible role model for children as he promotes neighborhood and community restoration. Expose the children to people who are doing amazing things in the community. Invite a Zumba teacher to come and pump the kids up with an exercise class. Have a study hall where students get help with their homework. Make sure to provide an after-school snack or a light supper for the children. Always provide interesting ways for the children to have fun. On Fridays, make it a tradition to serve pizza and enjoy a kid-friendly movie until it’s time to go home.

Not only will this after-school program keep children out of trouble, it’s also an amazing way to inspire and expose them to new things. Pour positivity into the next generation with an amazingly self-less effort like this one.

Author: Lolita Di

Mariah Kirby Student of the Year photo

Photo/ Provost Academy Facebook page

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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