Why Afterschool Programs Win

Education is a tool that can overcome a lot of hurdles.  – NFL Hall of Famer and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Alan Page

Thanks Alan.  To borrow this and to take it a step further, education by way of enriching #afterschool programs and extracurricular activities is an essential tool that can overcome a lot of hurdles!

To put in macro terms, today over 11.3 million children are on their own after school*.  And in Minnesota, 25% (219,277) of K-12 youth are responsible for taking care of themselves after school.  15% (136,041) of Minnesota's K-12 children participate in afterschool programs, including 11,647 kids in programs supported by the U.S. Department of Education's 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative, the only federal program dedicated to afterschool. *Thank you @Afterschoolalliance.org for the simple facts and for all the awareness you bring to this agenda. 

To put in more personal, understandable terms, let me remind you why after school programs are so important.

                AKA AFTERSCHOOL               MULTI-SPORTS AND FITNESS

                AKA AFTERSCHOOL

  • Provides kids with the proper environments to make smart, healthy and educational choices.
  • Keeps kids safe and out of trouble.
  • Gives students resources and tools to achieve through reading, writing, arts & crafts, and in AKASPORT’s view – exercise and free play alongside positive mentorship
  • Supports working parents
  • Broadens horizons – outlook on mentorship, importance of teamwork and giving back.

Active Kids Association of Sport, yes, AKASPORT, is currently operating afterschool programming in 9 schools this winter and spring in 3 school districts in Minnesota.  (Anoka-Hennepin School District #11, Minneapolis Public School District #1, and Spring Lake Park Public District #16) This programming, along with our AKA All Sports Summer Camps, are the 2 major pillar programs that AKASPORT operates year round.

As the uncertainties of federal funding and competing budget agenda priorities grow, it is vital that we grow awareness of the importance of afterschool programming for schools with lower to middle and even higher income families.  Just imagine what all those 11.3 million and growing number of kids would be doing without these safe and enriching afterschool environments.

When we ask our AKA afterschool participants at Lucy Laney Elementary in North Minneapolis what their favorite part of the day is each class, the majority response is quick to call out, “After School class”.  Take it from these kids…these programs are so important to the outlook of their full day. 

AKA Afterschool Multi-Sports at Lucy Craft Laney @ Cleveland Park Community School in North Minneapolis, February 2017, with AKA Coaches (L-R) Mo, India & Austin

AKA Afterschool Multi-Sports at Lucy Craft Laney @ Cleveland Park Community School in North Minneapolis, February 2017, with AKA Coaches (L-R) Mo, India & Austin

For the past 8 years, AKASPORT has provided Fall, Winter and Spring multi-sport afterschool programs that run 60-90 minutes of fitness and sports. Our ultimate goal is to further enhance this fitness and sports model to that which combines with more academic tutoring and education.  The structure at Lucy Laney provides for 45 minutes of afterschool homework and tutoring followed by 60 minutes of fitness and sports with AKA.  Simple, effective and a proven highlight of the kids day.  Let us raise awareness for the importance of these quality programs and find the ways and means to secure more resources to further this tutoring/fitness model in more schools and districts across the country.

Thank you to the Timberwolves Foundation and Allina Health for recent contributions to supporting our programs and thank you all for reading and for all of your support.