On May 2, 30 YouthQuest employees will participate in the second annual Out-of-School Time Celebration at the Michigan Capitol. There, staff, students and parents from afterschool programs around the state will have an opportunity to meet state legislators and voice their opinion on why afterschool matters.
But, why does afterschool matter? According to Cheryl Adkins, YouthQuest program director, there are many reasons.
“Studies show that one in five students are unsupervised between the hours of 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.,” Adkins says. “Afterschool programs give students the opportunity to stay out of trouble and learn something new in a fun and safe environment.”
YouthQuest does more than simply occupy students at an at-risk time. It helps extend day school learning by offering academic support, enrichment activities and physical fitness. According to The Afterschool Alliance, after attending an afterschool program, 65 percent of students improve their homework completion and class participation and 60 percent of students improve their behavior in class.
Additionally, students become part of the talent pipeline in Flint & Genesee by participating in activities that could translate to future careers. For example, Kori Richmond-Sattiewhite, an eighth-grade student, discovered her love for STEM in YouthQuest which helped her discover her own career aspirations.
“I want to become a robotic surgeon because I like computers and technology,” says Richmond-Sattiewhite. “In YouthQuest, we get to do activities like learning how to code.”
According to Corlonda Williams, mother of two YouthQuest students at Randels Elementary, her children get a well-rounded experience at YouthQuest.
“They get to do things that I would not be able to do with them,” says Williams. “They go on field trips to various places – even outside of Flint. Recently, they got to experience watching baseball at the Midland Loons game.”
According to Adkins, these are just some of the examples and stories that YouthQuest employees will take with them to Lansing.
“These legislators influence policy and budgets impacting afterschool and summer enrichment programs,” Adkins says. “It’s important that we show them just how valuable these programs are to Michigan families.”
According to The Afterschool Alliance, Individuals in support of afterschool programs can help by learning the facts about why afterschool matters, become familiar with the impact of afterschool policy, then take action by calling their state representative or writing an email to Congress.
YouthQuest is made possible through the generous support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and 21st Century Community Learning Centers.