The Warren Township Teen Center offers teens a safe space to explore different activities, work on homework, receive guidance from adult staff members and socialize with their peers. Staff believe the center helps to decrease community violence by giving youths access to structured, beneficial activities during afterschool hours, and hope that other communities will adopt similar programs. “I think it would be very helpful in communities that don’t have anything for youth to do,” Warren Township Supervisor Suzanne Simpson told the Lake County Suburban Life.
Montgomery County council member Nancy Navarro and Building Educated Leaders for Life CEO Lauren Sanchez Gilbert argue for increased funding for afterschool and summer programs in the Baltimore Sun: “The summer slide is about academics and economics. After all, educational inequality is a major reason for the current shortage of qualified adults who can contribute to the economy…. Yet federal funding for out-of-school-time educational programs is in jeopardy…. The stakes are too high to leave any child behind because of their race, income, or zip code. Increasing access to summer and after-school programs is not only an investment in today, it is an investment in our collective economic future.”
For 14 years, a free reading program has helped youths living in low-income and subsidized housing in Hampton Roads keep up their literacy skills during the summer months. Some 100 students in kindergarten through high school participated in the camp this year, which operates on an interactive curriculum meant to make reading fun. Students complete reading tests before and after the program and have demonstrated measurable improvements throughout the years. “This year we had improvement results as much as 68 percent,” program director Krystle Francis told the Virginian-Pilot. “And during the summer months; that’s huge.”
The nonprofit Harmony Project Tulsa gives music lessons to low-income students who may not have access to instruments outside of school. The program pairs professional musicians with youths, helping them develop a fun hobby and increasing their overall academic success. According to KTUL, Harmony Project participants performed 30 percent better on their third grade reading tests last year than their classmates who did not participate in the program.