In Their Own Words

“Students are back behind their desks for a school year that will bring new and imposing challenges. It is in everyone’s best interests for local schools to succeed. Somehow, in the midst of budget battles last spring, that concept was buried under an avalanche of accusations and insults… The students don’t know much about the politics and pressures that are plaguing our districts. They only know the reality they are dealing with: canceled courses and field trips, fewer sports and extracurricular options, new tests and class requirements, transportation changes and stressed teachers… How can we support the teachers so they know we value their very essential role in shaping young lives?... How can we make up for the after-school programs that have been lost? How can we make sure our students still have art and music to stimulate their minds and souls? How can we assure that each student will be protected, nourished, encouraged?... This is not about money; this is about solutions. We have caring community-service organizations and sports fans and parents groups and retirees who can come up with innovative ideas.”
—“Editorial: Help Schools Recover From Cuts,” Plattsburgh (NY) Press-Republican, September 11, 2012

“If you want to make a difference, start with yourself. That could be the message from Gang of One, a program from the Hickory Police Department. It’s a gang intervention and prevention program… The police department is launching a new part of its after-school program, Gang of One-Ridgeview. It gives youth in grades six through 12 a place to come after school to get help with homework, learn more about the Hickory Police Department, develop age-appropriate basic life skills, and meet new people… We like this program. We think it can be useful everywhere. Many gangs of one can create a team that gets things done and make a difference. It’s a way to break down barriers instead of building walls. We commend the police department for its initiative, but the real gratitude and praise goes to those who take advantage of this Gang of One.”
—“Our View: Look Forward With Gang of One,” Hickory (NC) Daily Record, September 5, 2012

Voices from the Afterschool Storybook…
“The most fulfilling part [about working with the afterschool program] was learning. Learning from the students and watching them learn something new, especially when it comes to programming the robot for the robot game. I am learning because I have a way that I think the mission should go and they think of a whole other way that works better.”
— Andre Jackson, Clinton, MD. Jackson is a systems engineer/analyst for SAIC. After school, he coaches a FIRST® LEGO® League team. 

Read more from Andre and more afterschool voices from across the country here. Share your story here.

This story originally appeared in the Afterschool Advocate (Vol. 13, Issue 9).

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