After School Programs Help Students Succeed

The American Savings Foundation believes that all youth deserve the opportunity to attend high-quality after-school programs.

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In 2003, with the Foundation’s assets surpassing $80 million and giving approaching $3 million for the first time, the Foundation’s board embarked on a new Strategic Planning process. To identify where we could make the greatest difference, we conducted a needs assessment to identify critical unmet needs.

While the Foundation had funded after school programs from its very first round of grants, we quickly realized there was a persistent gap in the quantity and quality of after school programs for middle school age youth in New Britain. New research at the time demonstrated that consistent attendance in high quality after school programs can make a huge impact on outcomes for this age group.

Based on what we learned, the American Savings Foundation launched our After School Initiative for Middle School Youth (ASI), a multi-year initiative focusing on 2 key strategies:

  1. Provide grants to nonprofits to improve program quality and expand capacity to serve more youth.
  2. Support a collaboration of New Britain youth agencies to work together toward common goals and meet the needs of all youth across the city.

Research shows the impact of after school programs, and we have seen the results first-hand. In the years since we launched this work:

  • Graduation rates improved
  • Rate of births to teens decreased 
  • Juvenile crime rates declined

In 2010 we commissioned a retrospective evaluation. Between 2005 to 2010, the ASI served 1,277 middle youth. Of these youth, 71% were located for the evaluation. Key findings indicated that students who participated in ASI programs:

  • The cumulative dropout rate for participants was lower than for their peers.
  • Participants showed higher credit accumulation rates than their peers, keeping them on track to graduate on time.
  • Youth that attended ASI programs for more days and over multiple years had better grades and better attendance than their peers.
  • Participants showed a statistically significant gain in reading from 8th grade to 10th grade

We continue to invest in quality after school programs that incorporate best practice standards and provide children with experiences that are challenging, nurturing, and fun.

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Since 1996, American Savings Foundation has awarded over $12.7 million to after school programs, including over $7.8 million for after school programs in New Britain alone.