Creating Afterschool Opportunities for Students in Need

Activities Beyond the Classroom launched its ABC Club at three schools.

Three students at College Hill Fundamental Academy Afterschool Club practicing yoga.

College Hill Fundamental Academy Afterschool Club students practicing yoga.

The remarkable benefits of afterschool programs have been well-documented for years now, and as more studies are published, it only reaffirms the positive impact these much-needed programs can make in the lives of students from all walks of life. According to the Harvard Family Research Center, “Children and youth who participate in afterschool programs … reap a host of positive benefits in a number of interrelated outcome areas [including] academic, social/emotional, prevention, and health and wellness.”

Unfortunately, many students in the Cincinnati Public School (CPS) system have nowhere to go when the final bell rings at the end of the school day. Activities Beyond the Classroom (ABC) has made it their mission to solve this problem by developing a no-cost afterschool program for schools that do not have one. ABC has invested over 10 years of effort into working with the Cincinnati Public Schools system to build strong relationships with school principals and administrators, and now the fruit of their labor is being realized on a large scale. Today, ABC assists with more than 200 different programs and activities each year, providing a well-rounded school experience for more than 10,000 well-deserving CPS students.

A Safe Place to Learn, Play and Grow

During the 2017-2018 school year, Activities Beyond the Classroom launched its ABC Club at College Hill Fundamental Academy, Roberts Paideia Academy and Roselawn Condon Elementary School. One of the most effective features of the program is its utilization of the Program Director who works with the administration to develop and customize the plan. The on-site coordinator manages the club, activities, and partners at the school. The types of activities offered by the ABC Club include:

  • Arts and crafts
  • Soccer
  • Gardening
  • Tennis
  • Yoga
  • Ballet
  • Cooking
  • Spelling skills
  • In-School Safety Patrol
  • STEM coding projects

An Asset for Students and Families

The Afterschool Clubs have been an outstanding success, and are highly valued by the schools, communities, students, and families that are involved in the program. For students, ABC provides early exposure to sports and the arts, as well as an outlet for students to exercise their social skills. For parents, the program provides a safe place for their children to go after school, as well as a no-cost source of enrichment for their children. For the community, the program encourages responsible citizenship and civic engagement, and it provides a safe, stimulating environment for neighborhood children to go during those all-important out-of-school hours. For the families of involved students, the program provides a means to build character and encourage meaningful family interaction.

Brian Leshner, Executive Director of ABC, had this to say about the invaluable benefits he receives by making this program available to CPS students, “I think my favorite thing is to see a kid have the pride of achievement, learn how to do something they haven’t done before, or be exposed to something they haven’t seen before. When they learn something new, they have a look in their eyes like, ‘Hey I can do that – that’s pretty cool and something I’ve never thought about.’ That is the part that really motivates me.”

Rachel Stallings, Program and Grant Director at ABC, also offered this insight, “Not only are we providing opportunities for students to participate in enrichment and sports activities, we’re also providing students who participate in exploring character traits. Throughout our programs you’ll see students participating in learning about perseverance, honesty, kindness – what does it mean to be kind, how can you be kind to your peers, and how can you be kind to those at home and beyond activities after school. So from there we hope to build students up and give them the skills that they need to be successful in life.”

With such a remarkable impact being made on the students at College Hill Fundamental Academy, Roberts Paideia Academy and Roselawn Condon Elementary School, it’s obvious that any investment made into Activities Beyond the Classroom will pay dividends that cannot fully be measured. Here’s to a bright, amazing future for our students!

For more, check out the video below featuring Brian Leshner, Executive Director of ABC, and Rachel Stallings, Program and Grant Director at ABC.