Today is Lights On Afterschool, a nationwide event to bring awareness to the importance and positive impact that afterschool and other out-of-school time (OST) programs have on students of all ages. Research shows students participating in high-quality afterschool programs are absent from class less, behave better, receive better grades and perform better on tests compared to non-participants. Additionally, afterschool programs have shown to reduce the math achievement gap between low and high-income students and students participating in these programs overall have a lower obesity rate than non-participants.
Students at the three campuses we support through our Middle School Matters program–Decker, Mendez and Webb Middle Schools–have the chance to participate in our free afterschool and summer programs to further enrich what they learn during the school day. We asked students from each campus about their experience participating in our OST programs.
What do you like best about afterschool?
-Hanging out with my friends
-Learning new soccer tricks
-I can get help with homework and have fun.
-It helps you do things you’ve never done before – you help the community and feel grateful for what you’ve done.
-It’s not boring – it’s fun! You can go outside and play.
-It’s an opportunity for us to learn about something that’s not a school subject.
How has being in afterschool changed you?
-It has made me more outgoing.
-I have made new friends!
-It’s helped me learn more about education and the community while helping others.
-It’s taught me how to be a good citizen.
What is one thing that afterschool made you want to learn more about?
-Business and how to start my own bakery
-How to help others in need
Why do you think it is important for students to go to afterschool clubs?
-It is better than going home to watch TV.
-You get to see your friends.
-You can learn something completely new.
What advice would you give to a new middle school student?
-Don’t be afraid to join new clubs–you can make new friends!
-Play soccer now so you can join the Mendez team in 7th grade.
-Join the fun at Webb!
-Go to Boys and Girls Club.
-I would tell them to do their best in their education, try to help others, and do things you’ve never learned before. For example, some animals are in dire need of help, which I learned in Camp Fire.
-It goes by fast and you should work hard to do more extracurricular activities.
-Give effort to everything that you do.
Thank you to our community partners who work with us to make these opportunities possible for middle school students: Boys and Girls Club of the Austin Area, Austin Partners in Education, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Breakthrough Austin, Camp Fire Central Texas, Communities in Schools, Creative Action and GENaustin.