Does your afterschool program have any connections with local businesses? These connections can include offering services to the employees, supporting work and education programs, and providing advocacy. In return, local businesses can help increase awareness of your afterschool program - and hopefully registration, too!
Why Should Your Afterschool Program Connect with Local Businesses?
Local businesses are an essential part of every community. Many local businesses like to give back to their communities, and supporting afterschool programs is one way of doing that. Some even expand into advocacy and public awareness campaigns to build better opportunities, including quality afterschool services.
While local businesses support afterschool programs, afterschool programs can offer childcare to parents that work at said businesses. Businesses that care about work-life balance and want to improve productivity find that partnering with an afterschool program allows parents to focus on work without worrying about their children.
Why Quality Afterschool Programs Matter to Community Businesses
Without afterschool programming, children are released from school into the community before the business day is complete. Unless the parents can afford childcare, children and teens have no parental supervision, causing a distraction for working parents. They may receive phone calls from their children or caregivers or are forced to bring the children to the workplace, reducing their productivity and performance.
Afterschool programs provide academic assistance, enrichment, and recreation to fill the hours before parents get home. They also help beyond homework assistance and cultural enrichment; some programs offer drug and violence prevention curricula, youth leadership activities, and activities linked to law enforcement. Local businesses can provide employment preparation or training so students know what to expect when entering the workforce.
How to Convince Business Leaders to Partner with Your Afterschool Program
Crime statistics show that the hours between 3 pm and 6 pm are the peak hours for juvenile crime and substance experimentation, something that directly affects the local business environment.
Currently, there is a shortage of afterschool care. Only 11% of children (6.5 million) in kindergarten through 12th grade participate in afterschool programs. An additional 15 million would join if programs were available to them.
Unfortunately, funding for afterschool programming has stalled since 2002, leaving parents in the lurch.
To foster partnerships with local business leaders, help them understand that everyone benefits from quality afterschool programming -
- It keeps children and teens safe and increases academic success.
- It increases worker satisfaction and productivity, allowing parents to earn more.
- It helps businesses build the future workforce and provides an on-ramp to employment opportunities and interests.
Afterschool programs teach creative thinking, problem-solving, teamwork, communication, and self-direction. They often introduce children to the technology used in the work environment. Partnering with an afterschool program can also transform a business into a coveted employer, attracting parents who might otherwise stay out of the workforce.
Tying It All Together
In communities with afterschool programs, children have access to a safe environment and assistance with homework outside of school hours. They have the opportunity to gain valuable experience and enrichment that makes them a better future employee. Parents can release the stress of worrying about their children's actions when they leave the school building.
Local businesses reap the benefits of an energized workforce and a pool of future workers who are invested in the local community, increasing the community’s sustainability.
By reaching out to local businesses, afterschool programs also ensure their own survival. With less federal and state funding, you may be forced to turn to local businesses and other community members to obtain funding and receive the support so crucial to your program.