According to the 2010 Census, there is over 300 million people living in the United States. Almost 75 million of those civilians are under the age of 18. Now imagine about half of those minors encountering issues when developing a successful adulthood. They are considered at-risk youth. Youth who may be at risk includes many reasons such as living in a low-income family, involvement with crime, sex, alcohol or drugs, or absence of social and emotional support (“Serving At-Risk Youth”). The problem with the youth being at risk affects them to have a positive outcome to not only their future but to America’s as well, since they are the future builders of this nation. However, we as adults should take actions to change them of being at-risk and showing them the right path of success. The United States should build and run after-school programs in each city making their goal to mentor the youth and to reduce the number of at-risk youths.
The first benefit is improvement in academic performance. Not only does this mean that the youth’s grades are increasing but also their attitudes towards school are positive. For instance, students that live in an area that is low-income have shown from studies that they have ameliorated their academic skills during their enrollment in the after-school program (Kirby). According to Elise Cappella, “After-school classrooms observed to be positive, responsive, and organized had youth with greater academic skill development over the school year.” Also, evaluations from other after-school programs across the nation such as LA’s Best at Los Angeles, Schools ; Homes in Education (SHINE) at Nesquehoning, Pennsylvania, and a national after-school program, Save the Children have shown an increase in their potential during school hours (“Afterschool Alliance”). Factors such as attendance, test scores, commitment in learning have increase while actions such as discipline and dropouts have decrease. After-school programs have a positive impact on youths’ academic performance.
A second benefit with the after-school programs opening across the nation would be prevention of risky behaviors from these minors. The youth are exposed to drugs, alcohol, sex, and crime at a really early time of their lives. Because the youth are expose to those actions, peer pressuring takes action or maybe just because they are unsupervised, they want to try it, making them not think about the consequences. Also, around after school hours, there is more possibilities for sexual activities, crime, and drug and alcohol usage (Wong 2008). After-school programs prevents the children to make any bad decisions that later they may regret. The staff is also a big part of this benefit. They are supervising the child, while mentoring and becoming role models for them (“Afterschool Alliance”). The staff should teach the children as soon as they are old enough to learn about the effects about drug and alcohol usage, the consequences with juvenile crime, and the knowledge about safe sex and when the time is right to have sexual intercourse. After-school programs shows an affirmative result on preventing risky behaviors.
In addition to the youths’ improvement on their academic performance and preventing risky behaviors while attending a program, they also prosper a growth to their social and emotional development. A determine program that concentrates on social and emotional abilities establishes an enhancement on self-esteem and self-confidence. For example,