education, Stories

Why we need after school programs

Why we need after school programs: how poverty affects inner city youth and how after school programs can help. Read about it at starfishchicagoblog.wordpress.com.
I think somewhere in the back of our minds we have a vague notion that after school programs are a good idea. Keep kids busy, keep them out of trouble. But what would happen if there weren’t any after school programs? What would it look like if we lived in a world where kids had no adult supervision or planned activities after school?

To understand this scenario, we need to visit the hood for a little bit. If you read this post, A Day in the Life of an At-Risk Youth, it will make more sense to you. In the ideal situation, when a child gets out of school, he or she comes home to a loving parent or relative who fixes them a nice snack, helps them with their homework, and asks them how their day went. 

Unfortunately, in our neighborhood, 90% of our kids are from single-parent homes, which means that there may or may not be someone at home for them. 

Of our families that have two parents, both parents are working multiple minimum wage jobs, trying to support their family members in America (and many in other countries as well). 

There are four major problems kids face when they don’t have adult supervision after school. 

1. Exposure to opportunities to join gangs, use drugs, and engage prematurely in sexual activity. 

More than 500 youths have been killed in Chicago since 2008. Teens who attend after school programs are more than three times less likely to use drugs and alcohol, smoke cigarettes, and participate in sexual activity. 

Why we need after school programs: how poverty affects inner city youth and how after school programs can help. Read about it at starfishchicagoblog.wordpress.com. 2. Poor educational support. 

Kids are not getting the homework help they need with adults absent during the long stretch of time between when school gets out and when parents get home from work. Only 26% of students from our local elementary school meet state standards for math. In our after school program, 43% of our students maintain a B average in math. 

3. Lack of teaching and mentoring on life topics such as healthy eating and relationships. 

God gave us parents for a reason! But when they are stretched thin or not there at all, often crucial topics such as taking care of your body and how to treat others can often go overlooked. Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. At Starfish we provide healthy snacks as well as nutritional teaching. 

Why we need after school programs: how poverty affects inner city youth and how after school programs can help. Read about it at starfishchicagoblog.wordpress.com. 4. Perpetuation of the poverty cycle that keeps people in low-paying jobs or on welfare. 

Without the proper inspiration and guidance, kids are likely to walk in the footsteps of their parents and instead of reaching hard to graduate college and prepare for a solid career, they will succumb to the influence of their peers and focus on the wrong things. Nearly 40% of Chicago Public School students drop out of high school, and that number is higher for kids in our neighborhood who are among the poorest in the city. At Starfish, our graduation rate is 100%. 

Why we need after school programs: how poverty affects inner city youth and how after school programs can help. Read about it at starfishchicagoblog.wordpress.com. The need for support for our youth can be overwhelming! Fortunately, as you can see in this post (5 ways we’re reaching this fatherless generation), programs like ours can really help a lot. If you are interested in partnering with us to help combat the problems inner city youth face today, you can either donate by clicking this link: PayPal.me/starfishchicago, or you can visit this page to learn about volunteer opportunities. 

Why we need after school programs: how poverty affects inner city youth and how after school programs can help. Read about it at starfishchicagoblog.wordpress.com.
Why we need after school programs: how poverty affects inner city youth and how after school programs can help. Read about it at starfishchicagoblog.wordpress.com.
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education

15 educational activities for kids

15 educational activities for kids: from science experiments to reading activities, this list is a great resource for parents and teachers! Find it at starfishchicagoblog.wordpress.com.
Summer is coming soon, and I know what the kids are thinking: “Yay! No school!” The parents, on the other hand are thinking, “No school? What am I gonna do with these guys?!” No worries! We here at Starfish have scoured the world of Pinterest for the best educational activities for your kids, so you can keep ’em busy, and keep ’em learning! Click each title to visit the original post with instructions and images for each activity. 

1. Make your own solar oven

Because, you know, summer! I’ve always wanted to try this one. 

2. Counting money in cupcake liners

Creativity is the key to getting kids to like math. 

3. Fraction flowers using paper plates

This post includes a set of printable fraction circles!

4. Make a homemade bird feeder 

This one is so simple to make. Only three steps. 

5. STEM challenge: how many drops of water can you put on a coin?

Teach your kids about surface tension with this science activity that will get your kids thinking. 

15 educational activities for kids: from science experiments to reading activities, this list is a great resource for parents and teachers! Find it at starfishchicagoblog.wordpress.com. 6. Multiplication squares game

The traditional competitive game of squares with a math twist!

7. Sight word twister

A great way to combine a gross motor activity that kids love with practicing reading skills.  

8. Telling time puzzles

Make telling time fun and interactive for kids. Includes free printable!

9. Shaving cream rain clouds

This hands-on science activity is colorful and exciting!

10. Sunshine addition fact families activity 

Make math fun for your first grader with this addition activity that uses clothespins.

15 educational activities for kids: from science experiments to reading activities, this list is a great resource for parents and teachers! Find it at starfishchicagoblog.wordpress.com. 11. Sidewalk chalk sight words and ABCs activities 

This post has 30+ sidewalk chalk activities that help with letters and reading!

12. Disappearing egg shell activity

This is a fun experiment for kids of all ages!

13. Cup equation spinners

A unique math game that your kids will enjoy for sure.

14. Little spelling boxes

This activity you can actually take with you when you’re on the go!

15. Epic slime recipe

Because what kid isn’t a fan of slime?

Starfish Learning Center is an after school program for at-risk youth in the inner city of Chicago! Visit our website to find out how you can partner with us to change lives: starfishchicago.org.  At Starfish, we love finding fun and creative ways to get our kids learning! Hopefully these ideas will get your kids off their screens and get their brains active. Have a great summer!

15 educational activities for kids: from science experiments to reading activities, this list is a great resource for parents and teachers! Find it at starfishchicagoblog.wordpress.com.