Recently I was made aware that some individuals that lead our great nation believe that out-of-school time programs don’t matter and make no difference in the lives of the many we serve. While this is out of the norm for me get political on my posting this one will be my exception because the work that many of us out-of-school time providers do is life-changing and does make a difference and I’m most grateful that my life’s journey has led me to be part of this great place where I lead pre-school, after-school, summer camp and many other programs that focus on better lives of the most precious in our sight. While in many ways I’m an amateur in comparison to many of my colleagues I’ve met who have done this work for years, I do feel it’s important to defend our work when it is being criticized on a national level, so I will share some ways in which the program I lead, as well as, ways many other programs are changing lives.
- We work with families to ensure the best for their children and provide them with life-changing experiences.
- We seek to provide cost-effective care.
- We to provide kids with experiences they wouldn’t have any other way.
- We seek work in tandem with schools and many other community groups best serve the whole child.
- We seek to educate through non-traditional formats.
- We keep children from going home to an empty house or getting in trouble with the law.
- We provide them with a place of safety and release after a long day.
- We mentor and nurture.
- We create opportunities for children to learn, share and grow together!
- Staff serves as big brothers and sisters caring for kids!
Those are some examples of why out of school time programs matter and how I’d like to highlight the work I get to be part of with a wonderful staff here at 1st Explorers.
- We provide care options on all days that school is closed to include teacher workdays, snow days, spring break, early release, etc.
- We create opportunities for students to be part of the leadership and development of our program through asking about what they would like to learn.
- We create specific clubs.
- Students cook together and learn how to make healthy food.
- Students are mentored by college students who are excited to be part of the development of our children.
- We seek ways to provide them with a global perspective through missions’ education.
I wholeheartedly believe in the work I do and so many others to create opportunities for our children and you and remain committed to find ways to help children and youth develop and grow!