In Minnesota, more than 250,000 children are responsible for taking care of themselves after school. Though more children have become involved in after school actitives in the last five years, the need for afterschool programs have also increased. In fact, Minnesota is one of only six states in the country labeled as “States on the move to Afterschool for All”, showing that they’ve made great progress in increasing participation. This could be partly because MInneapolis’ mayor, R. T. Rybak, has been active in the youth community working with the Minneapolis Promise, which helps to eliminate barriers to college for high school students, the Minneapolis Youth Congress, and the Minneapolis Youth Violence Prevention Initiative.
So why is participating in after school activites so important? Children who do participate gain many benefits including:
- A better attitude toward school and higher education
- Better school performance and attendance
- Decreased behavior problems
- Avoidance of drugs and alcohol use
After school is merely an extension of a child’s school day, and the programs that your child can become involved in can depend on your child’s school involvement and what your neighborhood offers. The following is a list of programs in Minneapolis you can look into to get you started.
Some Minneapolis schools through the Area Learning Center (ALC) offers an Extended Day Program for students in grades K-8. The after school programming includes instruction in subjects like Math, Literacy, and Science. You can check the Minneapolis schools website for a list of participating schools and information.
The Boys and Girls Club, started in 1860, offers supervised programs and activities for school children of all ages. They’re open five days a week after school let’s out. There’s a membership fee of only five dollars a year, per child. Some children have seen the clubs as a second home, keeping them off the streets and out of trouble.
Minneapolis Beacons Centers transforms some schools into active youth centers after school. These free centers offer quality youth development opportunities with an emphasis on school success, youth leadership, family engagement, and community-school connections. You can contact a beacon center near you to sign up.
Youth ages 6 through 18 and living in the Whitter neighborhood can attend the Center of Our Lives (COOL) Youth Center. They are a neighborhood based, family oriented program. Meeting three days a week, they provide tutoring, homework help, acitivies, and a home-cooked meal.Transportation to and from the center can be arranged. For more information, you can call (612) 870-6118.
In South Minneapolis, the Hwa Rang Do Minneapolis Academy offers the Tomorrrow’s Leading Knights Program. Geared toward children in K-6 grade, their after school program includes snacks, homework time, a computer lab, clubs for different interests, and 60 minutes of Martial Art Training daily! Children can even participate in weekly service projects such as making blankets for the homeless or adopting a neighborhood park. For more information, you can view their website or call (612) 824-KICK (5425).
If you know of other after school programs in Minneapolis, or would like to comment, you can comment below this article.
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