With the expansion of our CASE program to five sites, we had to ask ourselves if such investment was worth the human resource investment. The conclusion: a resounding YES! With public school students receiving less recess time, arts programs taking a lower priority and youth violence on the rise, kids need guidance and opportunity that will help them to grow. Did you know that the highest percentage of juvenile delinquent behavior happens immediately after school between the hours of 4-6pm? After school programs should be the answer to this dilemma, but only if they are facilitated well.
Students who have attended past after-school programs report that a lack of monitoring and direction at after-school programs can actually create further delinquent issues, and actually run counter-productive to students getting their homework done, which should be a primary incentive of the programs.
For this reason, we have worked hard to develop dynamic programming that engages students on an academic and skill-building level and teaches lessons in character along the way. For us, the program developed out of our desire to engage the youth in our neighborhood. The program grew by word of mouth amongst students and parents looking for quality structured activities after school.
The CASE goals are simple: 1) provide a safe environment 2) facilitate opportunities for students to make friends & 3) offer mentoring. In addition, we keep our staff current on trends and resources by encouraging them to attend trainings offered by the Nashville After Zone Alliance (NAZA). These have been helpful, as many of us are volunteering our time after full days of teaching and administering other programs at G.O.D. Int’l.
Our two sites have been very popular and safe places for kids to come the last four years. They’ve served nearly 40 students during that time. These new three sites are so eager to deliver the same kind of quality programming. We want kids to have a place to come and be kids, learn to play safely, and learn to get their homework done quickly. Personally, I hope that they go home to their families with a highlight in their day, feeling free from the burden of homework and loneliness to be the best sons, daughters, and siblings to their families. That’s what every parent wants from their kid when they walk in the door--a smile. It’s been our goal to try our hardest to get it.
The C.A.S.E. program at Dupont Hadley Middle Prep is a program of the Nashville After Zone Alliance. The Nashville After Zone Alliance is a network of coordinated after school programming for Metro’s middle-school students. NAZA is a partnership among the Nashville Public Library, MNPS, and other existing youth-serving groups. It is modeled on successful efforts in other cities and is organized around geographically-defined zones.