After School Grants
Most elementary and middle schools end their day in the mid-afternoon. Since parents’ workday continues on till 4 p.m., 5 p.m. or even later it has always been a dilemma of what to do with their children during the gap of time in between. Unfortunately, for some that means having a “latch key kid” that is unattended at home for as many as three or four hours. Since this can be dangerous and is even illegal in some areas, parents need better options such as after school activities, tutoring and other programs. Many schools now operate an after school program of one type or another thanks in part to grants for after school programs. While parents will often have a fee to enroll their children in these programs, because of after school grants the fee is usually modest. For some students that need some extra tutoring, there are even after school tutoring grants.
If your school does not have any after school programs, you may want to talk to someone at the school about the after school activity grants. Let them know they can do some research into programs, and get support from Afterschool.gov (http://www.afterschool.gov/) This site will not only help them start a program, but will help them find financing, educate them on state regulations, and advise on such things as finding volunteers and planning activities.
Besides this government site, there are companies and organizations that take an interest in taking care of our children. For example:
JCPenney. Their JCPenney Afterschool Fund (http://jcpenneyafterschool.org/) has provided more than $80 million to afterschool programs.
YMCA. Check with your local YMCA to see what programs they have. Some even have before school and summer camp programs.
Boys & Girls Clubs of America. With their arts, sports, fitness, life skills and other programs, you should be able to find activities that interest your child.
If your area is devoid of any groups or organizations, and you cannot get your school involved, another option for you is to talk to other parents and organize something on your own. If you need some ideas and an after school grant would help you pull it together, check out websites that will guide you. One such website is http://www.dosomething.org/clubs – a “Do Something Club” can be started with as few as 5 committed members.
With all the help out there these days, no child needs to be put at risk. Besides, many programs are geared to provide children with activities that they will really benefit from.