By Rachel Clark
|A West Virginia parent (L) and Alaska student (R) share why they love their afterschool programs. Photos via @WVSAN and @AKAfterschool.|
As we celebrate Valentine’s Day with loved ones, family, and friends, many afterschool students, staff, and supporters are sharing from the heart why they love afterschool.
In addition to sharing on social media, parents from communities across the country have written heartwarming love letters to the afterschool programs they and their children rely on every day. The reasons afterschool is close to their hearts are as diverse as the afterschool field itself.
Afterschool supports working parents
For Pennsylvania mom Tami Reichman, the LifeSpan afterschool program offers job security and the priceless peace of mind of knowing her kids are safe and learning while she’s at work.
“As a single mom of two who is working full time while earning her bachelor’s degree, it’s important for me to have someplace safe for my children to go after school,” Tami shared with The Morning Call.
“With my job as a shipping manager, I can’t afford to miss days of work because of inclement weather or school holidays. LifeSpan offers care right at the school so my children have somewhere safe and supervised to go.”
Afterschool gives students the tools to achieve
Amanda Owens of West Valley City, Utah, loves her son’s afterschool program because it’s given him more confidence in school.
“For years my son struggled with reading. The help and tutoring he's received from the afterschool teachers has been immense,” Amanda wrote in The Salt Lake Tribune. “I cannot imagine how far behind in reading he would be without the afterschool program. Now he's no longer embarrassed to read. He even gets excited to read to his younger siblings!”
Leavenworth, Kan., parent Michael Puppolo’s twins have attended the Horizon Kids afterschool program for three years, including over the summer.
“I have seen a dramatic improvement in my children’s academic and social performance, all thanks to the wonderful folks at Horizons,” Michael shared with the Leavenworth Times. “There are not enough words of praise for this fine program.”
Afterschool broadens kids’ horizons
In addition to supporting academic success, afterschool programs help kids discover new interests.
“I love [Operation Shoestring] because it is giving my children the chance to try things that are new to them, like horseback riding, fishing, kickball tournaments and soccer,” wrote Wytreace Clark, a Mississippi parent of three, in The Clarion-Ledger. “My son Jeremy, in the eighth grade, is now captain of his school’s soccer team—a role he is so proud of—thanks to his experience with the sport after being introduced to it through Operation Shoestring’s summer camp.”
One parent even shared that an afterschool program shaped her daughter’s career path.
“I’m convinced the one reason my daughter is a teacher is that she loved and learned from the staff of Haddonfield Child Care each day that she spent with them and wanted it ‘pay it forward,’” said New Jersey parent Jane Spence in her letter to the Haddonfield Sun.
Want to share why you love afterschool? There’s still time: Just download our toolkit and start sharing on social media!