Have you thought about what school is going to be like when kids return to in-person schooling at the end of summer? (We hope so!) Then you know you’ll also have to plan for what they are doing after school. Luckily, The Children’s Trust supports after-school providers throughout the county and offers a wide array of options.
Much of Miami-Dade County’s population depends on after-school programs to provide safe haven, learning and social growth for youth. Even during the worst of the pandemic, after-school providers offered programming and this year the need is even greater.
“We are approaching unchartered waters with this year’s back-to-school preparations,” said Trust Associate Director of Programs Rachel Spector. “The benefits of quality after-school programming are numerous. From academics to social development to mental health, after-school programs not only help in the growth of our children but keep them engaged in positive activities instead of doing something they shouldn’t,” Spector said.
Barbara Cesar, the director of education at Centro Campesino, which provides after-school programs for kindergarten through 5th grade at two sites in Florida City, said this year’s return to school and after-school will be challenging but welcome. “Seeing the smiling faces as they return to our after-school programs is something heartwarming to look forward to,” Cesar said. “We already know from the summer that they have so much to share and talk about, they have been so enthusiastic.”
After-school options for older children as just as important. Bevone Ritchie, Associate Director of Programs at The Trust, reminds parents that after-school programs are safe outlets for older youth to speak with each other about what’s happening in their community, around the world and put their thoughts to productive use. “After-school programs that serve middle or high school students are a great place for students to express themselves, through activities such as dance, sports, music, spoken word, film production and more. They have a voice,” Ritchie said. “Because there is so much going on, having this additional outlet and support is a great resource for healthy development and their well-being.
It is important to note that all Trust-funded after-school programs will abide by all Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), state and local guidelines regarding pandemic requirements. To find an after-school program for your child, visit www.TheChildrensTrust.org/After-School for a list or interactive map of K-5 and 6-12 after-school programs.