By Charlotte Pope
In an early-morning event near Philadelphia’s famed Clothespin sculpture, red-shirted staff from the After School Activities Partnerships (ASAP) distributed fresh copies of the nonprofit’s annual directory of afterschool programs.
The guide is distributed as a supplement to the Philadelphia Daily News.
The publication is the organization’s largest to date, containing information about more than 1,000 afterschool programs, including chess, drama, debate, Scrabble, sports, and art. Through participation, students increase academic achievement, improve attendance and peer and adult relations, and gain a deeper respect for guidelines and expectations around student conduct.
Studies indicate that afterschool programs are considered a necessary resource for both parents and students. According to ASAP, about 40,000 of the city’s youth spend between 15 and 20 hours a week alone and unsupervised after school. Philadelphia police reports indicate that the most dangerous time for these youth is from 3 to 6 pm.
The guide is organized by zip code, with contact information and descriptions of each program. The programs are offered at over 800 locations throughout the city, including schools, recreation centers, community-based sites, and libraries.
“Demonstrated research has found that students involved in afterschool programs have higher engagement in school, better grades, and just an overall more positive attitude,” said Reni Ellis, ASAP’s research and communications associate.
“We feel that the directory is a great resource for parents, caregivers, educators, anyone involved with youth, to really find a comprehensive way to see what’s available after school.”
According to Ellis, ASAP also plans to launch a more robust online directory service later this year to help improve its website and strengthen the connection between the public and student enrichment opportunities.