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AFTER SCHOOL MATTERS!

After School Hours GECAC Provide Help Our Students Keep Up and even Excel!


Oscar Munguia Jr.
After School Program Director


Evidence is mounting that where and how youth spend their time outside of normal school hours has important implications for their development. Students attending after school programs are positively influenced every single day. Whether it’s the way students view school, their grades, their school attendance, or their social skills, after school programs do make a difference. The Give Every Child A Chance (GECAC) After School Advantage Program (ASAP) is designed to provide a safe, structured, educational, and fun after school environment to students that attend on a daily basis.
The GECAC ASAP likes to pride itself on being more than “After School Care” by providing our students with an enriching environment where they can learn, thrive, and expand their horizons. This environment is fostered by providing three main components that all students must participate in a daily basis.

  • The homework component is designed to assist the student with their daily homework assignments. Staff encourages students to be as independent and responsible as possible for getting their work done. Students work in a group setting with staff (in some cases volunteers) offering guidance when requested. Staff will assist students with problems when the student raises their hand quietly. (The Homework Assistance program is not part of the GECAC One-on-One mentor-tutor program. Students receive assistance in a group setting.) ASAP staffs works hand in hand with all the school day teachers and communicate back and forth if students are having a difficult time completing their homework.
  • The recreation and physical activity component is an important part of our programing.  Activities provide a change of pace for the students participating. Physical activity generates energy for a child’s body and brain, thus creating more effective learning. Activities include: organized games, clinics, tournaments, exercises, etc.  All recreation and physical education activities are aligned with the California State Standards. Appropriate warm-up activities will precede any physical activity and proper attention will be given to health and safety.
  • The Enrichment component includes: educational project based learning that follow the districts pacing calendar, learning games, service learning, holiday projects, health education,  technology usage, guest speakers/instructors, science projects, art lessons, drama productions, etc. The Enrichment component is designed to expose students to experiences or projects they generally would never be exposed to and to expand their learning from the regular school day. All Enrichment projects are aligned with Common Core Standards.

The GECAC ASAP has proven to effectively support our students on a variety of fronts, including: boosting students’ academic achievement and self‐esteem, fostering healthy lifestyles, and helping young people find and develop their passions. As the community and parents become more concerned about today’s students falling behind academically or socially they are realizing that the extra hours after school GECAC provides can be used to help our students keep up and even excel. If you would like to participate in any of the ASAP endeavors please contact the GECAC Program Office at (209) 825‐7003.

GECAC Healthy Lifestyles April 2015

 

Christine Hwang

Healthy Lifestyles Coordinator


This year has been quite a year for the GECAC Healthy Lifestyles program. We were able to start gardens (indoor and outdoor) at a majority of our sites. We piloted garden-based curriculum at two sites,  and we continue to support/encourage sites to grow harvest their own herbs or vegetables and integrate them into fun cooking lessons where the students get to taste the fresh ingredients.


We’ve adopted a blender bike that requires someone to pedal the bike in order to give the blender “juice”. This blender bike will go out sites this spring along with funds to provide students with a healthy and fun snack they will make on their blender bike!


Lastly, this year our health education program has served approximately 1,436 students. These students received six research-based comprehensive lessons on the following topics: MyPlate, Nutrition Labels, Active Play, Heart Health, Hygiene and Physical Fitness.


 

Benefits of After School Programs



Chuck Crutchfield
Director of Community Outreach

The importance of after school programs cannot be expressed enough.  When we ask the question, what makes after school programs successful?  We believe the answer is that after school programs provide several benefits for not only students but entire families.

The primary benefit is to have children participate in supervised activities and out of trouble and off the streets.  The time directly after school to 6:00 p.m. is the most critical time of day for children who are not supervised by an adult.  This is the time of day where children are at a higher risk of engaging in illegal behavior or becoming a victim of a crime.  Keeping kids in a safe environment after school reduces juvenile crime and allows parents to feel better knowing their child is in a supervised activity.

A secondary benefit is helping students with what they learned during school hours.  Assisting students with the completion of homework and the chance to practice what they leaned in school is beneficial for academic achievement. Students also have the chance to participate in physical activities.  These activities help build stamina, release energy, reduce childhood obesity, and other youth related health issues.   It also exposes children to activities that they may otherwise not have the opportunity to participate in, such as: dance, martial arts, and drama to name a few.

We believe that after school programs should be:
-Fun and entertaining to keep kids interested
-Structured and organized by age
-Academically based to enhance learning in a variety of ways

In this day of social media, where more and more people communicate without a face to face connection, after school programs allow for children to develop socially and to get along with others.  It also allows them to be exposed to children outside the immediate family and make new friends.

When Prop. 49 was passed in 2002 by California voters, it was a huge victory for families across the state, it provided funding to open programs directly after school when children need it most.  IMPACT…for a better future!

According to myschools.com here are a few critical characteristics of an effective after school program:

  • Has clear goals and objective

  • Responds to the needs and interests of youth, parent, and community

  • Provides engaging and challenging activities that promote the development of academic, social and personal skills

  • Links after school activities to the school day

  • Hires trained, qualified and enthusiastic staff members who possess a genuine love for children.

  • Provides a safe environment and nutritious snack

  • Conducts evaluations to determine the effectiveness of the program.

The entire list can be found on their website.

Students thrive when we, motivate, involve, include, encourage, listen, respect, challenge, and engage them in quality programs.  As a community, we must continue to value our young people and work together to help them grow into responsible adults.  There is no time like the present to take action and make sure that quality after school programs stay in place and continue to provide our next generation with the tools they will need for their future and ours. 

Until next time, remember, “We can’t do everything for everyone everywhere, but we can do something for someone somewhere” - Richard L. Evans