On October 20, I traveled to Chicago with our Executive Director Jodi Grant to kick-off this year's Lights On After School and release data from our new report sponsored by JCPenney, America After 3PM: From Big Cities to Small Towns.
A week earlier in Des Moines, Iowa Jen Rinehart our VP of Policy and Research released the first part of this important research report, revealing the differences in afterschool participation and care among rural, urban and suburban children. In Chicago, Jodi introduced the second part of the report that details afterschool participation in four major U.S. cities: New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas and Chicago.
The event was graciously hosted by Maggie Daily’s successful After School Matters program and emceed by After School Matters Executive Director David Sinski. We also heard remarks from the President of JCPenney Afterschool Jodi Gibson, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, Commissioner Mary-Ellen Caron and President of the YMCA Neil Nicoll. The speakers praised afterschool programs in Chicago and data shows that Chicago has done well in supporting its youth:
· Chicago kids participate in afterschool programs at a rate of 27%; nearly double that of the national average of 15%.
· Chicago parents overwhelmingly support afterschool programs with more than 9 in 10 Chicago parents support funding for afterschool (91%).
· However, there is some room for improvement: 30% of Chicago children are still unsupervised after school, compared with 26% nationwide.
Overall, the event promoted the successes of afterschool programs throughout Chicago and gave us a chance to celebrate the opportunity for even more children who need additional enrichment after school to get involved in programs in the future.