In Their Own Words

“We all know about summer learning loss and keeping kids in a kind of structured environment better prepares them for the next school year…. Helping [students] build on their skills over the summer in a more relaxed, fun way really helps them make the connections between what they’ve learned during the school year and what they’re going to learn during the summer. It helps them make friends and a lot of kids live on streets where there aren’t any other kids. So they can make new friends and do fun stuff and stay safe.”
—Afterschool Ambassador Karen Steele, “Making Sure There’s Something to Do,” Boston Globe, June 28, 2012

“After-school programs protect and support the most vulnerable children; they are far from a luxury…. I experienced the life-changing power of effective after-school programs. When I was 10, my mother was killed. Shortly thereafter, my father abandoned my family. My grandmother took me in and put me in after-school programs run by the Boys & Girls Club of Newark, where I received academic, social and emotional support that she could not provide by herself. These programs helped change my life and put me on a path where, as a taxpayer, law teacher, elected official and former senior executive in the state Attorney General’s Office, I am blessed to contribute to the vitality of our state. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to recognize that helping children do better in school and to avoid the pitfalls of pregnancy, drugs and alcohol, and helping their parents work longer at increasingly skilled jobs, is good for all of us. Finding a way to provide a structured environment, educational enrichment and meaningful mentoring in the after-school hours should be one of our top priorities—even in these tough economic times. I know it works. It worked for me.”
—Shavar Jeffries, “After-School Programs Save Kids, Including Me,” Newark Star-Ledger, July 8, 2012

This story originally appeared in the Afterschool Advocate (Vol. 13, Issue 7).

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