More than 10 million children around the country participate in, and benefit from, out-of-school time programs, including before and after-school care, weekend, and summer programs. Providing more than just a safe and supervised environment, these programs can play a key role in helping improve kids’ overall health. In fact, providers of out-of-school time programs and parents agree that kids should have healthier food options and more opportunities for physical activity when they are outside the classroom. It doesn’t just make their bodies healthier, it helps them perform and behave better in school, too.

That’s why the National AfterSchool Association adopted clear and consistent standards for healthy eating and physical activity (HEPA). However, for many out-of-school time program providers, it may be difficult to know how to implement these standards or they lack the adequate resources to do so.

We need to prepare our kids for a lifetime of wellness, and helping improve the nutritional and physical activity offerings of out-of-school time programs is a great place to start.

Together, with providers, parents, local policy makers, students, and other members of the community, we can create out-of-school time programs that keep kids on a healthy path. That is where this toolkit comes in. Use the information and resources here to support healthy changes in your community—and to advocate for changes at the state level that will guarantee that all kids have access to healthy food and opportunities to be physically active even when school is out of session.

Voices for Healthy Kids is dedicated to making sure out-of-school time programs are places that support the wellness of all children – no matter where they live or what out-of-school time program they are in. It’s good for their health now and in the future. And that is good for all of us.

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GAO Says Education Dept. Should Up Its Oversight of Federal After-school Program

As after-school programs across the country fear loss of federal funds, a new report from the Government Accountability Office could muddy the waters. The GAO released a report Wednesday saying the Department of Education needs to improve its oversight of the program by updating the way it measures program outcomes.

Youth Today

April 28, 2017

Goedeken: Out-of-school time matters too

Children and youth in grades K-12 spend only 18.5 percent of their waking hours in the formal classroom environment. So where are they spending the rest of their time? As the number of working parents increases, more and more youth are coming home to empty homes after school. It is during these unsupervised hours when juvenile crime and victimization increases drastically, and youth miss opportunities to learn, create and problem solve. Expanded learning opportunities provide fun,enriching, safe environments where students can explore, learn, create and build life skills that will prove invaluable as they grow and develop into competent, caring adults.

For the entire article, click here.

The Columbus Telegram

April 12, 2017

New Study Finds Huge Unmet Demand for Afterschool Programs in America’s High-Poverty Communities

Many of the country’s most vulnerable children and youth are not benefitting from afterschool and summer learning programs, which have a proven track record of success helping students succeed in school and in life, because these programs are in short supply in communities of concentrated poverty (CCPs).

Afterschool Alliance

August 30, 2016