AdvocacyEditorialEducation

The Critical Role of After-school and Summer Learning Programs

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The Trump Administration recently announced its first full budget for next year, which proposes to eliminate funding for 21st Century Learning Centers, that are federally funded academic enrichment centers for at-risk children attending high-poverty, low-performing schools. As an organization that provides after-school programs to similar populations, it is important to stress how beneficial these programs are to our communities.

As pointed out in a recent editorial in The Boston Globe, this proposed cut would impact millions of American families who depend on critical educational programs that not only positively impact students, but also benefit parents who are juggling full-time jobs, given their children’s’ schedules do not always align with their own. According to a recent Afterschool Alliance report, close to one in two students in these programs improved their math and language grades, two out of three improved their homework completion and class participation, and three out of five improved classroom behaviors.

At IBA, educational programs are a key part of our organization and we have seen the beneficial impact it has on our participants, who come from diverse backgrounds. In partnership with the Blackstone Innovation School, we offer an academic and arts integrated after-school and summer learning program for first and second graders. It engages students through multiple learning models, and offers reading mentorship, arts and homework support, as well as other community activities, and sets students up for academic success.

Meanwhile, our Youth Development Program prepares teens ages 13-19 in underserved communities for college and career. Our program is an employment-based plan that places teens in rigorous courses centered on arts and civic engagement, and was awarded the National Arts & Humanities Youth Program at the end of last year. Data from 2016 showed positive academic advancement, with 100 percent of students moving to the next grade in school, and 100 percent of high school seniors matriculating in a full-time college or a vocational school setting after graduation.

After-school programs like 21st Century Learning are crucial to the growth and development of our youth, particularly in low-income communities where opportunities can be limited. At IBA, we will continue to support programs like these that are vital to hardworking families.

For more information on how you can support IBA, please visit our page: http://www.ibaboston.org/donate/.

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