Unlocking Potential

The vital role of after-school programming for children struggling academically.
May 2, 2024
Ermina Mustedanagic, Chief Executive Officer
Unlocking Potential

Children of today are the future of our community and society. Yet all too often, children, particularly in underprivileged areas, are falling behind academically and intellectually for a variety of reasons. What is the core of academic success? Reading proficiency stands alone as a cornerstone in the intricate tapestry of child development. Without it, outcomes are dire. Early intervention is critical for changing the course of each child’s trajectory toward future potential and opportunities. What can we as a community do to alleviate the downward spiral of poor school performance? 

Amid many challenges, after-school programming emerges as a beacon of hope, offering tailored support and guidance to enhance reading skills. Although many schools have early reading intervention programs, more must be done beyond the classroom to reinforce growing literacy skills. 

After-school programs can be highly effective at meeting this need. It provides extra time and a nurturing educational environment beyond the classroom. In contrast, the home environment of many underprivileged children may include intergenerational poverty, with a focus on economic survival and lack of time to foster literacy. It may include language barriers, frequent moves and a lack of role models. There may have been exposure to trauma or violence. The outcomes of low literacy are numerous, including low achievement, lack of intellectual development and low confidence, which may result in low graduation rates and job opportunities. 

After-school programs extend learning beyond the confines of traditional school hours. For children grappling with reading difficulties, this additional time proves invaluable. With consistent practice and support, these children can gradually bridge the gap, gaining confidence and competence in their reading abilities.

The unique nature of after-school programming is characterized by the nurturing environment provided. The relaxed setting and personalized attention is conducive to exploration and experimentation. Positive role models can tailor innovative ways to cater to diverse learning styles and individual needs and interests. Through small group sessions and one-on-one tutoring, struggling students can receive the targeted instructions necessary to overcome obstacles and unlock potential.   

After-school programs serve as a lifeline for children from disadvantaged backgrounds where resources may be limited. By offering these programs for free, there is equal opportunity to thrive academically. The benefits serve as a catalyst for academic achievement, intellectual and personal growth, confidence and social empowerment. Struggling readers will become equipped with tools and confidence to overcome academic difficulties, and unlock a world of opportunities and possibilities. 

Wellspring Interfaith Social Services

Phone: (260) 422-6618 ext. 112

Website: wellspringinterfaith.org

Email: ermina@wellspringinterfaith.org

IMG Insurance Management Group

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