From Our Team
Afterschool programs are key to healthy future for kids and the community
Posted on October 22, 2019 by Bianca De León
The school year is in full swing and that means busy schedules for parents and students.
Youth need more than classroom time, curricula, and good teachers to be successful. Study after study shows that afterschool programs have a wide-ranging benefit for children, including boosting academic performance, improving social skills, creating a more positive environment for children to learn and grow, promoting health, and encouraging other good habits such as leadership and time management.
The Paso del Norte Health Foundation’s IGNITE initiative aims to engage disconnected youth in the Paso del Norte region with high-quality programs during out-of-school hours. Disconnected youth are those children between the ages of 5 and 17 who are not involved in any out-of-school or are not employed.
In recognition of afterschool programs in El Paso County, the Borderland Out-Of-School Time (BOOST) Network has partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of El Paso to celebrate Lights on Afterschool in Segundo Barrio. Lights On Afterschool is the only nationwide event celebrating afterschool programs and their important role in the lives of children, families and communities. On this day, organizations all over the country coordinate events that showcase their programs and highlight a powerful message: millions more kids need quality afterschool programs.
The El Paso Lights On Afterschool event provided an opportunity for El Paso organizations to showcase their afterschool and summer programs to parents and kids. The following organizations participated: Creative Kids, Boys and Girls Club of El Paso, Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest, El Paso Public Library, El Paso City Parks and Recreation Department, El Paso County Parks and Recreation Department, UTEP MUREP Aerospace Academy (MAA) K-12 NASA Program, YMCA of El Paso, Con Mi Madre, Insights El Paso, Ciudad Nueva, U.S. Census Bureau, and Segundo Barrio FC.
“Afterschool and summer programs provide youth with tools they can use inside and outside of the classroom, boosts self-esteem and can introduce healthy habits, now and in their future,” says Andrea Gates-Ingle, Executive Director and Boost Network Chair. “We look for this event to provide parents and kids options to stay engaged after they leave school.”
BOOST supports collaboration, coordination, and communication among out-of-school time program providers and community stakeholders across the Paso del Norte region. If you are a director or staff member of an out-of-school program, register now for the next BOOST Network quarterly meeting, which takes place December 3. Visit theboostnetwork.org for more information.
To learn more about the IGNITE initiative, visit pdnhf.org.
Bianca De Leon is a Program Officer for the Paso del Norte Health Foundation. She leads the IGNITE initiative and manages the Healthy Kids and Tobacco and Alcohol Prevention Priority Areas.
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