What if I told you there is a way to substantially reduce crime, address food inequality, save Ohio businesses millions in lost productivity costs and create a prepared, qualified workforce? Would you believe me if I told you there is one way to meaningfully address this myriad of pressing issues?
We all know a problem can only be truly solved when you can fix the root of it. Billions of dollars flow to healthcare costs, crime prevention and rehabilitation, and unemployment as a means to solve the serious issues facing our society. However, addressing the factors that create those issues would not only save dollars, but lives.
There is a proven, effective means of addressing these problems – and more – found in Afterschool programs.
It is difficult to understate the importance of Afterschool programs in Ohio. 30% of our students are home alone when not in school. 56% of working parents in our state need childcare. Children and youth need safe, organized places to go when their parents are in the workforce. As our future, they deserve the full support they need to meet their potential, build successful, fulfilling careers and lead productive, rewarding lives.
Afterschool programs produce benefits as varied as they are substantial. Studies show participation in Rework this section: Afterschool programs means increased student achievement – both academic and in developing social-emotional competencies needed for tomorrow’s workforce. Participation also decreases risky youth behaviors, like using tobacco, alcohol and drugs and engaging in sexual activities.
Every dollar invested in high-quality afterschool programs saves taxpayers between $3 and $8 dollars, if crime reduction is factored into the estimates. There are perceivable links between obesity prevention, and parents who use Afterschool programs report that not only do they largely miss less work, but that the programs help them balance work and family in their daily lives
While Ohio can boast some of the highest quality Afterschool programs, there is still a need for increased funding and support. 846,248 Ohio students say they would participate in an afterschool program were one available. That’s well over half a million Ohio students who want to strive for academic excellence and have to be denied due to the lack of an Afterschool program in their community. Additionally, there are existing Afterschool programs in desperate need of adequate funding so they can provide the quality services Ohio students deserve.
The need for increased support for Afterschool programs has prompted the Ohio Afterschool Network to announce its inaugural Ohio Municipal Summit on Afterschool and Summer Learning Programs on April 12, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Ohio Statehouse. This is an incredible opportunity for municipal leaders across the state to meet and discuss the crucial issue of Afterschool programs. Community leaders from across the state will participate and collaborate in talks and workshops on ways to improve and innovate Afterschool programs to address each community’s most pressing needs.
Municipal leaders and encouraged to attend this incredible opportunity to invest in Ohio’s future. Afterschool programs represent the chance to create a brighter tomorrow. It is imperative that our students access their full potential, and we know that is the desire of each community leader. Visit https://www.ohioafterschoolnetwork.org/ to register, join the conversation and create a better Ohio.
- Ashley Brewster, Legislative Advocate, Ohio Municipal League