Micah Raskin is a regular volunteer at community-building organizations and soup kitchens in his neighborhood in Nassau County, NY. Helping to create local afterschool programs to ensure all students have a safe place to be, he demonstrates the great value they can have on the lives of children everywhere.
When school gets out, many kids across the country can’t immediately go home to a safe and comfortable environment. Instead, they may wander the streets, get involved in neighborhood group violence, or find other ways to get into trouble. People like Micah Raskin look to community-building organizations to create a positive environment for students that can foster healthy traits and habits.
“Afterschool programs offer a unique support system for grade school students that can instill emotional development and personal growth,” says Micah Raskin. “There, they can complete school work in a peaceful environment if they needed or goof around with friends, but they can all also learn crucial skills like computer typing and participate in positive social activities.”
In these programs, Micah Raskin says children can discover their own passions and pursue activities that they probably wouldn’t get the chance to otherwise. They can develop leadership skills or can learn more about constructive teamwork with other kids in afterschool programs. Certain programs even allow time for activities that give back to their own community, teaching the students involved to appreciate charity and recognize the positive impact it has.
In afterschool programs, a team of caring and supportive professional educators open a space either in schools or at community centers that kids are free to use before or after school, as well as during breaks between classes (such as summer or holiday breaks). Educators motivate the kids who attend and engage with them to increase self-esteem and to connect them with other people or elements of their community. This alone can drastically decrease the number of children who turn to gangs or violent groups to fill their time.
“Many kids across New York City live in poverty and their families simply can’t afford many opportunities for them outside of school,” says Micah Raskin. “Children right here in my own neighborhood need these afterschool programs to develop social skills and promote better academics while keeping them out of trouble. Afterschool programs end up being a huge benefit to society overall since it shapes children into responsible citizens.”
Their time spent in afterschool programs can enrich the lives of students in low income communities anywhere and transform a potentially troublesome environment into one that promotes growth, health, emotional development and wellness. This, in turn, helps the students to thrive in their academics and give them more to look forward to during the day-to-day. Programs like the ones Micah Raskin has helped to create go on to teach skills such as collaboration, positive communication, and critical thinking that teach children how to grow into respectable adults in the future while keeping them off the streets today.