Afterschool Programs Keep Kids Safe
By [your name]
During the week, students spend more waking hours at school than just about anywhere else. Between about seven hours at school, hopefully eight hours of sleep, and time at home for breakfast and dinner, it might not seem like there’s much more room in a student’s day. But those afterschool hours, from 3pm to 6pm, are critical.
Afterschool programs are essential for [STATE] children and families. Juvenile crime peaks during this window—and today, more than [XXX] youth statewide are alone and unsupervised during those hours. In our current climate, this is both dangerous and unacceptable. [If possible, change this sentence to reflect specific, urgent local or state challenge, such as youth crime, drug use, etc.]
Afterschool is a critical strategy for addressing this [challenge, crisis, epidemic]. These programs provide kids with a safe haven and help protect them from risky behaviors, both online and offline.
Kids in afterschool are less likely to smoke, drink, use drugs, or become teen parents. They connect with caring adults who won’t let them slip through the cracks.
Study after study shows that high-quality afterschool programs keep kids on track for success—in school, college, careers, and beyond. Our state policymakers in [CAPITAL] and our representatives in Congress must do all they can to make sure every child and family who wants an afterschool program has that opportunity.
[The next section should contain a story to help illustrate the value of afterschool and the need to improve access. To continue the main message theme, the story should emphasize how afterschool programs keep students safe. It could be a profile of a student who avoided trouble with drugs or a gang because he or she participated in afterschool. Or it could highlight a local afterschool program that is doing something interesting to keep students safe and engaged with positive role models. The story should take up no more than two to three short paragraphs.]
Every parent in [STATE] wants their child to be safe after school, just like [CHILD from the story] is. But the benefits of afterschool extend far beyond safety—families rely on them too.
When parents have afterschool choices for their children, they don’t have to worry about what their children are doing or coordinate rides for them. They know their kids are with caring adults, learning, trying new things, and having fun. They’re getting time for physical activity and help with their homework. Across [STATE], [XX] percent of parents say afterschool programs help them keep their jobs.
Unfortunately, too many families are unable to take advantage of the benefits afterschool provides. Right now, more than [XXXXXXX] students in [STATE] participate in an afterschool program. But more than [XXXX] are waiting to get in. We’re leaving those kids behind.
As parents and adults, our most important job is ensuring that we give our children—all children—the opportunity to achieve their full potential and build a successful future. Afterschool programs are one of the best ways to do that. [Ideally you can add a few sentences as a more state specific call to action in this section. Who do you want to take action, and what do you want them to do?]
[If possible, refer back to the story here. For instance: Kids like XXX benefit from afterschool programs. Parents like YYY want them. If that doesn’t work, a general reference will do:] Children benefit from these programs. Parents rely on them. And communities across [STATE] need more of them—we cannot let them down.