The hours between 3-7 p.m. can be risky for many high school students, as they are often alone and unsupervised.

Violent juvenile crimes occur most frequently in the hours immediately following the end of school on school days, according to federal data.

After-school programs – long an option for working parents of younger children – can be an important tool in preventing at-risk teens from dropping out.

“We have to always keep them active and they have to always be participating in something or else they can go in a different direction,” says Amber May, programs director of Operation Shoestring.

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