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After-school programs vital to next generation

The Worcester Telegram & Gazette
Lisa D. Welsh
August 22, 2007

After-school programs can provide children with more than safe supervision. Effective programs also give children opportunities to learn in new ways; develop positive relationships with adults; enhance academic performance; and be included in positive peer groups. As Georgia Hall, research scientist with the National Institute on Out-of-School Time at the Wellesley Centers for Women, states, "We've all come to the realization that school alone cannot meet the needs for youth today in terms of 21st century learning and 21st century technology training." And although 70% of Americans polled stated that they would support an increase in federal funding for after-school programs, most programs are underfunded. As Hall indicates, "We have agreement that this is the way to go but we need to move the dollars with it...It's getting better, but we still have a long way to go. But it's definitely a priority."