As a father of three children who went through our school system, and as a teacher who taught our kids for 35 years, I certainly understood the need for a good traditional education. But there is something else that our community must now consider - something outside of the school day as we know it. We now need to address the issue of afterschool programs.
Each October, thousands of communities across the country shine a light on the afterschool programs, and Enfield is one of those communities. The “Lights On After School Enfield Celebration 2012” will be held on Thursday, Oct. 18 from 4:30-6 p.m. at Center Court in the Enfield Square.
The event is being hosted by ERfC (Educational Resources for Children) with participation from the Enfield Child Development Center, Enfield Youth Services, YWCA Kidslink and the Public Safety Academy – all providers of afterschool care. All Enfield providers have been invited.
The keynote speaker for the event is Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman. Congressman Joe Courtney, Mayor Scott Kaupin, Representative David Kiner and State Senator John Kissel, as well as Karen Jarmoc, Board Chair of the United Way of North Central Connecticut, will also be in attendance.
For many families, the day when one parent was able to greet their child at the door when they came home from school are gone. The bad economy and family needs have forced both parents into the workforce. Afterschool programs support families by preventing the problem of a child coming home to an empty house. Without these programs, and traditional child care, hundreds of our children, many in elementary school, would return home to an empty house at the end of their school day. In some cases, middle and high school aged students – and sometimes even younger students – act as afterschool care givers to their siblings.
To counter this crisis, afterschool programs were created to help fill this void. These programs are structured to meet the needs of our kids. The programs offer much more than just child care. Afterschool programs are intended to complement and work with the regular school day curriculum by providing literacy and related educational services, drug and violence prevention programs, counseling, art, music and recreational programs, technology education and character education program. This direct connection, between the child, afterschool program and the school, has worked well in improving the academic performance of the children involved in after school programs.
Please join ERfC in celebrating and supporting our Enfield after school providers. As this community has supported our schools, we now need to show that same support for the teams that provide much needed afterschool programs for our children. Remember - "Kids with a place to go after school.....go places."