Get the information you need to start an afterschool program.

Beyond the Bell – A Start-Up Guide for Afterschool Programs

Why Afterschool Programs Matter?

A look at why afterschool is economically, socially and educationally advantageous for America’s school children.

Afterschool Hours In America

  • More than 15 million school-age children (26 percent) are on their own after school. Among them are more than 1 million are in grades K to 5. (Afterschool Alliance, 2009)
  • The parents of more than 28 million school-age children work outside the home. (U.S. Department of Labor, 1998)
  • Nine in 10 Americans want all children and teens to have some type of organized activity or safe place to go after school. (Afterschool Alliance & Lake, Snell, Perry & Associates Inc., 2004)
  • Over three-quarters of Americans (76 percent) agree that members of Congress, state and local elected officials should increase funding for afterschool programs. (Afterschool Alliance & Lake, Snell, Perry & Associates, Inc., 2008)
  • Only 8.4 million K-12 children (15 percent) participate in afterschool programs. An additional 18.5 million would participate if a quality program were available in their community. (Afterschool Alliance, 2009)
  • The hours between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. are the peak hours for juvenile crime and experimentation with drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and sex. (Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, 2002)
  • Currently, the federal government contributes only 11 percent of the cost of afterschool, while 29 percent of the children in afterschool meet the federal government’s definition of low-income and in need of federal assistance. (Afterschool Alliance, 2009)

Afterschool Programs Benefit Youth, Families & Communities

  • Teens who do not participate in afterschool programs are nearly three times more likely to skip classes than teens who do participate. They are also three times more likely to use marijuana or other drugs, and are more likely to drink, smoke and engage in sexual activity. (YMCA of the USA, March 2001)
  • Early childhood education expert James Heckman concludes that a compliment of early education and participation in afterschool programs can reduce initiating drug use among youth by nearly 50 percent (45.8) while reducing the likelihood of them skipping school by half. (Investing in Our Young People, University of Chicago, 2006)
  • The Promising Afterschool Programs Study found that regular participation in high-quality afterschool programs is linked to significant gains in standardized test scores and work habits as well as reductions in behavior problems among disadvantaged students. (University of California at Irvine, 2007)
  • Parents miss an average of eight days of work per year due to a lack of afterschool care. Decreased worker productivity related to parental concerns about after school care costs businesses up to $300 billion per year. (Community, Families and Work Program at Brandeis University, 2004; Catalyst & Brandeis University, December 2006)
  • An analysis of 73 afterschool studies concluded that afterschool programs using evidence-based approaches were consistently successful in producing multiple benefits for youth, including improvements in children’s personal, social and academic skills, as well as their self-esteem. (The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, 2007)
  • Children in LA’s BEST afterschool program attend school more often and report higher aspirations for finishing school and going to college. LA’s BEST participants are 20 percent less likely to drop out and are 30 percent less likely to participate in criminal activities. Researchers estimate that every dollar invested in the LA’s BEST program saves the city $2.50 in crime-related costs. (UCLA National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards and Student Testing, June 2000, December 2005 and September 2007)
  • Students in programs supported by The After-School Corporation improved their math scores and regular school day attendance compared to non-participants. High school participants passed more Regents exams and earned more high school credits than non-participants. (Policy Studies Associates, July 2004)
  • Participants in Citizen Schools’ afterschool programs are much more likely to go on to high-quality high schools compared to non-participants (59 percent vs. 28 percent). Former Citizen Schools participants were also significantly more likely to graduate from high school in four years when compared to Boston Public Schools students overall. (Policy Studies Associates, July 2009)