As summer vacations end and students start a new school year, here are a few reasons you should encourage them to get involved with after-school activities:
· Children & teens are more likely to be the victims of crime during the after-school hours than at any other time
· Children & teens are more likely to participate in violent crimes during the after-school hours than at any other time
· Children & teens are more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as tobacco, alcohol or drug use or sexual activity during the after-school hours than at any other time
Our young children often attend after school daycare or programs provided by their elementary schools, but by the time children reach middle school they are often left on their own after school. It seems sensible enough. They are old enough to get their own snacks and open their books to complete their homework. They know who to call if they have an emergency. However, adolescents benefit from after-school activities and supervision, too.
Youth who spend only a couple of hours per week in extracurricular after-school activities are significantly less likely to drop out of school; become teen parents; or use tobacco, alcohol or drugs. Spending 5-19 hours per week in after-school activities reduced the risk even further.
It is important that these activities are not just time wasters, but are programs that help youth develop skills and values and provide them with experiences that mean something to them.
It doesn't take a lot. Our schools and community offer a variety of after-school clubs, sports and activities. Encourage your children to find something that interests them and participate regularly. If your student is in Grades 7-12 please have them check into the Warriors Ignite group that meets at the VBCSD Middle/High School. This is a group sponsored by the VB County SAFE Coalition and works on leadership skills with the youth involved to address health, wellness, and substance abuse prevention in Van Buren County.
For information on keeping your kids active and the activities available in Van Buren County you can contact the SAFE Coalition by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 319-293-6412.