Afterschool programs are critical to Iowa’s economic and social well-being. Afterschool programs are community-driven child, youth, and family-serving programs that 1) Keep Kids Safe, 2) Help Working Families, and 3) Support Student Success. The value of afterschool is undeniable: for every $1 invested, $9 is saved by reducing crime and welfare costs, increasing businesses’ production potential, and improving kids’ performance at school.
Between the hours of 3 and 6 p.m. children and youth are most likely to engage in risky behaviors or be involved in criminal activity, both as perpetrators and victims. Afterschool programs keep youth safe during this time, while also increasing school-day attendance. The need for more access to afterschool programs in Iowa is clear due to the fact that 81% of youth grades 6-11 report being unsupervised between 3 and 6 p.m.
Iowa has the highest rate in the country for both parents in the workforce at 76% of families. Lack of child and youth supervision after school means that businesses in Iowa are losing out on productivity as parents mitigate safety concerns. Afterschool programs can fill this gap for working families, providing a safe and enriching place for their children and youth to be after school and during school breaks.
Research has proven that afterschool programs improve academic achievement in both reading and math, improve behavior and motivation to learn, improve grades, and increase the likelihood of graduating from high school on time. By increasing access to afterschool in Iowa, especially given the fact that the percent of schools designated “Schools in Need of Assistance” has grown by 50% in ten years and students eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch has grown by over 20%, youth can be given the opportunity to break out of the cycle of poverty and create better futures for themselves.
Please be part of the Iowa Afterschool Alliance Coalition by signing on in support of afterschool programming in the state of Iowa.
By signing on to the coalition, you:
Support the Iowa Afterschool Alliance’s mission and vision.
Agree to communicate critical messages regarding the need for and impact of afterschool programs in Iowa.
Understand that the IAA may call on you to take specific actions to further the mission of the coalition.
As stated above, the research shows that afterschool programs can have a positive, lasting effect on the lives of youth and families in Iowa. Furthering access to these programs in our communities is crucial. Investing in children, youth, and families is integral to thriving communities and a strong Iowa.