Every day, more than 14 million children in the U.S. are left unsupervised after school. According to experts, that leaves them in danger of becoming victims or perpetrators of crime or delinquent behavior.
In fact, a recently released survey supports the need for quality after-school programs that offer students homework assistance and academic goal-setting to help deter kids from crime and substance abuse.
Television is the No. 1 homework distraction, according to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America/JCPenney Afterschool Fund Survey, which questioned students about homework and on graduating from high school. Sixty-seven percent of students said teachers should assign homework, but 54 percent claim there is too much of it.
Also, most of the students surveyed said graduating high school was very important to them, with 61 percent saying going to college was their primary ambition after high school. The negative influence of peers was cited as the greatest challenge to finishing high school.
To address these statistics, Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the JCPenney Afterschool Fund have partnered to create after-school programs that, according to Julie Berkhouse, after-school specialist for the JCPenney Afterschool Fund, emphasize the importance of doing well in school and planning for the future.
“Numerous studies have shown that children involved in quality after-school programs, including those that offer homework assistance, have better grades, higher school attendance, better attitudes toward school, higher educational aspirations and less need for disciplinary action,” said Berkhouse.
One such program is Power Hour. This interactive homework assistance program helps young people view homework as an opportunity to learn how to work independently, successfully complete a project on time and feel good about their accomplishments.
Additionally, Goals for Graduation is a program for youth ages 6 to 15 that provides one-on-one activities to support academic goal-setting, learning and success in school. Through an incremental approach, students create an action plan with daily and weekly goals – leading to both short- and long-term gains.
“Research shows that without significant educational support, many young people are likely to accept low standards of academic achievement, leading to unrealized potential and locking them into limited opportunities for employment and life,” said Carrie Prudente, director of education programs for Boys & Girls Clubs of America.