Lights on Afterschool

Yesterday’s blog was about tipping points and social epidemics.  The question I was pondering was how to start a social epidemic.  But this isn’t the kind of epidemic that makes you feel sick, it is the kind that makes you feel GREAT and makes the world a better place. 

It is a fact of modern life that many kids spend their afterschool hours with no or minimal supervision by adults.  After school programs fill an important role for kids and families.  Sports, academics, music, art. All are examples of programs that can fill that time and enrich the life of our children. 

Here are some facts: 

The Afterschool Hours in America

  • More than 15 million school-age children (26 percent) are on their own after school. Among them are more than 1 million are in grades K through 5. (Afterschool Alliance, 2009)
  • More than 27 million parents of school-age children are employed, including 23 million who work full time. (U.S. Department of Labor, 2010)
  • Only 8.4 million K-12 children (15 percent) participate in afterschool programs. An additional 18.5 million would participate if a quality program were available in their community. (Afterschool Alliance, 2009)
  • The hours between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. are the peak hours for juvenile crime and experimentation with drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and sex. (Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, 2002)
  • Eight in 10 Americans want all children and teens to have some type of organized activity or safe place to go after school. (Afterschool Alliance & Lake, Snell, Perry & Associates Inc., 2008)

Now more than ever the organizations that provide these programs like the YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs, 4-H, Junior Achievement and others are under funding pressure.  I urge you to support these valuable organizations with your time, your talent and money (if you can). 

And to show your support of afterschool programs join 1 million Americans and 7,500+ communities nationwide on October 20th in celebrating the afterschool programs that keep our kids safe, inspire them to learn and help working families by turning on your outside lights.  For more information, click on the Afterschool Alliance.  You can also join some great organizations in our city that sponsor and promote programs for kids in our community:  the Optimist Club, the Boys and Girls Club, Avondale or Pontiac Youth Assistance, the YMCA, the Rotary Club are some examples.  You just need to have some time to devote to kids.  If you are interested, I can help you find these folks. 

If we try, maybe we can start that epidemic….

 Lights On Afterschool

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I'm the Chief of Police for the Auburn Hills Police Department.