by Kelly Riding
Executive Director, Utah Afterschool Network
Last month, Stephanie Linton from UWSL and I joined 150 afterschool advocates from across the country to share our stories about afterschool programs with the Utah congressional delegation. Every year the Afterschool Alliance organizes the Afterschool for All Challenge in Washington D.C., at which we had the opportunity to visit with the offices of Congressman Chris Stewart and Senators Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch.
We shared with them the amazing outcomes and personal stories of the impacts of Utah afterschool programs, while also urging them to support 21st Century Community Learning Center funding, STEM programming, and summer meals.
Utah afterschool programs facts:
- 57,686 youth participate in an afterschool program
- 99,148 youth are on their own after school
- 257,482 youth would participate in an afterschool program if one were available
Benefits of afterschool programs:
- Students who attend afterschool programs regularly (15 hours/week) can receive up to 70 days of additional hands-on learning and instruction
- Increased school attendance
- Increased positive school and academic behavior
- Improved academic performance
- Researchers in Utah found positive relationships between participation in afterschool programs and growth on DIBELS scores for students in IGP funded afterschool programs
High-quality afterschool programs can make a huge difference in the life of child, but we still need additional funding and resources to ensure programs are accessible to all of Utah’s youth.
As a result of our Washington D.C. visit, Congressman Stewart visited with one of our high-quality afterschool programs earlier this week. We hope with the Congressman and other state and federal policy makers’ support we can increase the accessibility of afterschool programs in Utah.