Posted: Friday, August 30, 2013 12:00 am
Student learning goes on after the school bell rings
Inside Tucson Business
When the school day ends, children and teens need opportunities to learn and engage in meaningful activities. Their success out of school can have a positive effect on their success in school. Unfortunately, 15.1 million children nationwide and 22 percent of children in Arizona are left unsupervised after 3 p.m.
They do not participate in afterschool programs, according to the Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit public awareness advocacy organization.
To help close this gap, the YMCA of Southern Arizona continues our long standing commitment to providing childcare within the Tucson region and the Southern Arizona community. The YMCA is the largest provider of licensed child care in Southern Arizona.
Combining play with academics, the Y’s afterschool program provides learning enrichment through arts, music, physical education, sports and nutrition. It also provides children with an extra support system to help them achieve and reach their full potential. As a leading nonprofit committed to youth development, and a pioneer in afterschool programs, the Y believes guidance, encouragement and support through positive role models, along the learning continuum – from early learning and preschool to high school graduation and college – provide the best chance for youth to succeed in school and life.
Studies show participation in afterschool programs helps boost school attendance and academic performance and reduces gaps in academic achievement among children from disadvantaged households. The work has never been more crucial to the development of our youth than it is now. There is a growing awareness that children are at particular risk during the afternoon hours from a safety and “poor choices” point of view.
Additonally, kids who are home alone and remaining inside the house (which most are directed to do) often spend the time eating junk food, watching TV, and not participating in any physically-active or academic work during these hours.
A lack of healthy eating and physical exercise is contributing to the childhood obesity epidemic, which is starting at an earlier age than ever before.
The Y believes all kids deserve the opportunity to discover who they are and what they can achieve. We provide quality child care to nearly 4,000 children annually in the greater Tucson region, including Vail and Sahuarita. In our programs, youth are cultivating the values, skills and relationships that lead to positive behaviors, better health and education achievement.
Through support and guidance, the Y’s afterschool programs provide enrichment while promoting a love for learning, social and emotional development, and character and creativity. Many youth have lost access to recreational programming, such as arts, sports and physical education because of budget cuts within school districts.
This month the Arizona Daily Star reported some startling statistics:
• The number of Arizona children receiving state child care subsidy has dropped by 43 percent, or nearly 20,000 children, in the past four years, and the amount Arizona set aside for child-care subsidies dropped from $83 million to zero between 2008 and 2011.
• One in four families had to cut their work hours and one in eight had to quit their job. One in 11 left their children home alone or in the care of other “older” children due to the lack of affordable care.
• Without subsidies or reduced rates, full time care for a 4-year-old in a licensed Arizona center costs an average of $7,263 a year. A single mother earning two times the poverty level in Arizona – $31,010 per year – would need to spend 28 percent of her income to keep an infant in care full-time
Recognizing the importance of supporting Tucson families and youth, the Y has responded and met the increased demands for financial assistance in our community, awarding more than $1.2 million in child care financial assistance to families over the past four years, representing a 38 percent increase over previous years.
For every $1 invested in quality early learning, we save $17 in future costs associated with remedial education, juvenile delinquency and other support services. The commitment of the YMCA to nurture the potential of each and every child in our community is stronger than ever.
For more information on our work in the lives of youth across Tucson and how you can join us in strengthening Tucson families, visit our website at tucsonymca.org or contact one of our six YMCA locations.
Contact Dane Woll, president and CEO of the YMCA of Southern Arizona, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Woll’s Getting Fit column appears quarterly and is next scheduled to appear in the Nov. 29 issue of Inside Tucson Business.
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Friday, August 30, 2013 12:00 am.
Article source: http://www.insidetucsonbusiness.com/community_lifestyle/getting_fit/student-learning-goes-on-after-the-school-bell-rings/article_62faa50e-10d6-11e3-b000-0019bb2963f4.html