Survey Finds Large Unmet Need for Afterschool Programs Among African Americans

afterschoolallianceA new survey conducted for the Afterschool Alliance finds that 2.4 million African American children participate in formal afterschool programs. They make up about one quarter of all African American schoolchildren.

But the survey also shows that an additional 4.5 million African American children would participate in such programs if they were available in their communities. The survey found that the unmet need for afterschool programs is particularly high in Black and other minority households. Some 60 percent of the African American families that do not have a child enrolled in afterschool programs would take advantage of such programs if they were offered and safe transportation to and from the facilities was provided, according to the survey.

“Our country is nowhere close to meeting the demand for afterschool. In fact, the unmet demand for afterschool programs among African American families is large and growing,” said Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant. “It’s clear that African American families value afterschool programs, because they keep children safe, inspire them to learn, help working families, and promote healthy habits. But our public policy shortchanges millions of children of all races and ethnicities, leaving them without the programs they want and need. Federal funding for afterschool programs has been stalled for years. We need to increase federal support for quality afterschool programs.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger, former governor of California and founder of the After-School All Stars, added that “due to the fact that most students come from homes where both parents are working, we have a duty to provide safe havens for our children during the crucial hours from 3 to 6 pm. These programs help kids with homework, teach them teamwork, engage them in community service, pair them with mentors, help them to be physically fit, involve them in activities like rocketry and robotics, and much more. Afterschool is a wise investment but, unfortunately, we’re not investing nearly enough.”

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