Many of us are familiar with the public service campaigns that began in the 1960’s: Its 10:00 o’clock. Do you know where your children are? The campaign, believed to be based on the Scottish tale, Wee Willie Winkie, promoted curfews to keep children safe and off the streets. This public service announcement, adopted by many news stations, still runs today.
The message is important. Today, however, the time just after school releases – during daylight hours – can be just as crucial to keeping children safe. It’s time we start asking: “It’s 4:00pm. Do you know where your children are?”
After school hours can be used successfully to teach children how to grow into productive and effective members of our communities – when done in a fun engaging way.
The importance of after school programs is indisputable. From a report created by both the Department of Education and Justice, “Communities fare better when their young people are occupied in meaningful, supervised activities after school.” After school programs engage children while parents are at work, and juvenile crimes are at their peak. Children in after school programs have increased school attendance and improved behavior. When after school programs integrate character education and teach social skills, children are more willing to listen, respect and support each other, and are ready to learn.
Unfortunately, while after school programs are extremely important, many programs are only
available to those who can afford them. Rain of Hope aims to provide empowering, quality programs to all students, making Rain of Hope’s programs available to families who are less likely to afford quality after school programming.
We chose to launch programs in the New Haven area, as approximately 14.8% of children under the age of 18 are living below poverty.[iv] Many parents, specifically in low-income urban areas, need after school programs in order to work. Based on current poverty levels, however, affordable programs are not easily accessible.
With 16 million children living below poverty in the U.S., Rain of Hope is striving to expand its programs. In time, Rain of Hope will work to provide certified training nationwide to schools interested in offering our quality after school programs, and will teach schools how to maintain costs for these programs.
Rain of Hope believes: