Some have posed the question, “Why are schools failing?,” and many offer theories and opinions on challenges facing schools and education. But there is a much more poignant question: How can WE help schools succeed? One answer is through community supported quality afterschool programs.
Teachers can’t do it alone. Challenges facing teachers, particularly in public and urban schools, are well publicized. Challenges such as time restraints, parental involvement, language barriers, funding, are just a few. Amid these challenges, teachers need to teach the basic education requirements.
Schools and teachers need support. Research shows that academic learning extends beyond the school day. Fundamental lessons in math, science, history – and hopefully arts and cultures – can be strengthened when parents and caregivers support their children, whether through homework help, reading together, or simply communicating about their interests and goals for the future.
But, parents can’t do it alone either. Few if any, parents disagree parental involvement is important – and, I imagine that most parents would love to be able to fulfill these needs for their children. Yet, in many cases, this ideal is easier said than done when considering the challenges that parents face – regardless of socioeconomic backgrounds.
Today’s economy – and family life – differs greatly from 15, 20, 30 years ago. According to the Bureau of Labor, in 2012, 63% of families with school-age children have two working parents. Childstats.gov states the number of single-parent families is rising. Many parents need to work to afford basic needs and provide financial stability for their families. For those that choose private schooling, tuition costs can be an added pressure. Today’s economic challenges force families to work harder – often working nights and weekends is not necessarily a choice. While few argue the importance of parental involvement, to assume that all parents are able to fulfill this need every night is naive.
If the answer is not with the parents and the teachers, who’s left? The community, specifically, community programs that offer quality afterschool programs.
Teachers are doing all they can. Parents are juggling work and family. But, is it up to the rest of us to pick up the slack? Perhaps not. But is it in OUR best interest to support parents, children and teachers? Absolutely! And many do. Rain of Hope supports children’s education through quality afterschool programs.
Afterschool programs are vital for students and communities grow. Research shows that afterschool programs can provide academic enrichment and physical activity children during the time of the day when juvenile crimes are at their peak. Some programs, such as Rain of Hope’s, also provide character education to help students develop social skills. Research also shows that children attending quality afterschool programs have increased school attendance and improved behavior. Children attending afterschool programs are staying out of trouble, and are coming to school the next day ready to learn.
Rain of Hope’s after school programs introduce children to the lesson that our choices and actions impact those around us. We teach children WHY they should choose to help their community, and HOW helping others empowers ourselves. Each program has accompanying grade-level appropriate lessons plans, complete with educational outcomes and matched to common core goals. Students are learning the importance of community service while also building on the academic lessons taught during each school year. We support the teachers.
Rain of Hope also provides homework help before or after each lesson. We support the parents.
Rain of Hope’s programs provide academically enriched, character education that students need to succeed in life. Above all, we support the students.
In addition to core academic skills, children need character development to develop social, ethical and emotional skills. Community service learning empowers children by introducing challenges facing our world – and then work together towards finding solutions that help. From problem solving to team building, our organization focuses on helping children understand that all of us – regardless of age, race or background – have the power and a voice inside of us to rise up, bring change, and ultimately control our own future.
Today’s math: Hardworking Teachers + Today’s Working Family + Quality Afterschool Programs = Solid Education
Afterschool programs that support academics AND provide character education create a learning environment where students are ready to listen, respect and support each other – students are ready to succeed.
Can WE help schools succeed? Yes! When we work together, we will succeed. Rain of Hope looks forward to the future! We invite you to join us and make our programs available to more communities.