New study shows participation in after-school programs improves academic, social and lifestyle skills
The RBC After-School Grants Project announced today that it will provide $2.5 million in funding to 94 community-based organizations across Canada. The grants program, now in its 12th year, supports after-school programs that offer children with a safe, supervised environment for activities outside the classroom.
“Participation in after-school programs help students enhance their academic performance, social behaviours and motivates them to excel in school,” said Shari Austin, vice-president, Corporate Citizenship at RBC. “These grants help after-school programs provide engaging, enhanced activities that are crucial to keeping kids safe, inspiring them to learn and grow, while alleviating some pressures for working families.”
According to the University of Toronto, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, there is evidence high quality after school programs foster self esteem and teamwork as well as academic and athletic improvement which can be linked to lower drop out rates and improved social skills.
Preliminary research from a University of Toronto, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work study, commissioned by RBC, suggests programs for younger children that offer diverse, fun activities, structured learning and have approachable, dedicated instructors help create optimal environments to grow and learn. Whereas for teenagers, they benefit greatly from after-school programs that focus on social and employment skill development as well as exam preparation. Programs that are culturally sensitive were also a key factor for both groups.
“Research tells us that increased supervision for children after school positively correlates with lower levels of delinquent behaviour and substance misuse,” said Faye Mishna, Dean of the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto. “With the funding from organizations like RBC, many after school programs are able to provide important benefits to children, youth and their families.”
The University of Toronto, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work study is ongoing and a final report will be available in early 2011.
RBC After-School Grant recipients represent a diverse range of community based organizations, and were chosen by members of the community. Each program will receive up to $40,000 from RBC and there are 19 first time recipients.
To be selected for a grant, after-school programs must offer structured and supervised activities for children between the ages of six and 17. The programs must focus on what RBC calls the “three Ss” — safety, social skills and self-esteem. RBC’s grants are used to provide a wide-range of activities including computer instruction, sports, literacy tutoring, music and art lessons, nutrition guidance, and homework help.
RBC has been funding after-school programs since 1999 with more than $22 million given through 750 grants to 212 different organizations that have helped almost 24,000 children over the past 12 years. For more information, visit www.rbc.com/community/donations.
For a full list of recipients go to: www.rbc.com/newsroom/pdf/2010AS-Grant-recipients.pdf
For further information:
Jackie Braden, RBC Brand Communications, (416) 974-1724, [email protected]