After-school programs have become essential in providing kids with positive behaviours. With after-school care programs, children learn how to study and increase their grades, how to stay in school, how to stay off drugs and how to resist peer pressure. Kids get positive reinforcements and help just where they need it. You can be influential in starting an after-school care program for your community.
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Things you need
Inquire about licensing. You'll need to contact the department that oversees the licensing of such programs in your area. You'll want to know what requirements you need to meet prior to launching your program. Your town or city hall clerk will be able to direct you to the appropriate licensing agency in your area.
Begin by finding volunteers. Some volunteers may just be to help with the planning stages and program advice. Other volunteers may be able to offer their expertise to help teach and watch the children. Gather your group of volunteers together to brainstorm ideas and to find out what talent is available to help you.
Find a location for your program. For this step, you must ask your community businesses for help. You will want a location, but you are also going to need many items donated to make the program work. You could find sponsors from local businesses who might be able to contribute basketballs, tables, chairs, crayons, markers, paper, craft kits and anything else you may need. You will be surprised by the generosity of the business community and when each business chips in one thing you will eventually have all you need.
Get training from the After School Alliance. You can call 1-612-802-9270 and you will be introduced to resources that will provide you with plenty of training and assistance to start up your program. They may be able to tell you about aspects of starting a program you hadn't even thought of.
Hold a meeting. Make sure you include everyone who wants to participate giving each person a time to talk, share ideas and go home with an assignment. If you act like the head honcho and like you are the boss of the whole program people aren't going to want to come back and help you. Remember you are doing this for the children.
Design your program. Are you going to have different stations (reading station, music station, craft station)? Are you going to provide outdoor activities (basketball, soccer, tag, kickball, playground equipment)? Are you going to split the kids up by age and grade level? What ages of children are you going to accept? This all needs to be included in your design as well as the times the program is going to be open.
Make sure to incorporate food. There are actually federal grants you can apply for that would cover the costs of snacks. Many of the children may not have much food at home, so you want to provide them with something nourishing and filling. Food should be offered each day the program is open. You may have a local bakery that can donate day old doughnuts and pastries. Ask around.
Tips and warnings
- Contact your local school board to see if you can use some of their space for the program. Most schools will agree if it doesn't conflict with their own activities.
- Contact your local government agency and see if you need a permit or license to start and after-school care program. You can also apply for non-profit status.
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