After-school programs keep millions of kids safe, focused once school dismisses

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — We know our kids are safe while they are at school each day, but that is not necessarily the case for all children once the school bell rings at the end of the day. A staggering number of kids in the United States go home to an empty house.

“…Every day, 11 million kids leave school with no where to go,” said Patrick Wynn, Executive Director of Boys & Girls Clubs of North Alabama.

Wynn knows from personal experience that each of the 11 million kids need somewhere to go.

“I’m a product of Boys & Girls Clubs, I was a club kid,” Wynn said.

According to afterschoolalliance.org, researchers found that 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. is when juveniles are most likely to commit a crime.

“Especially kids from low income areas because they don’t have the structure at home,” Wynn added.

The group also found that consistent participation in an after-school program is linked to higher test scores and a smaller math achievement gap between students with low-income and high-income families.

“In our organization, what we did is we hired school teachers to reinforce the education lessons that’s going on in the schools everyday,” Wynn said.

Researchers also found that 80 percent of parents they surveyed in 2014 said after-school programs allow them to keep working.

“It’s not that the parents don’t care, a lot of them are working multiple jobs to make ends meet,” Wynn explained. “So, when you get the low income kids, in all communities, it’s vital that you have a structured after-school program.”

The Afterschool Alliance also found that for every dollar invested in an after-school program, $2.50 is saved in crime-related costs in the United States.

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