According to Afterschool Alliance, 10.2 million children participate in after-school programs; an additional 19.4 million families would choose after-school programming if it were available within their school district. While these programs are becoming a popular feature in the U.S. public school system, the demand outweighs the ability to serve all children who want and would benefit from participating. Furthermore, children who live in poverty have even fewer opportunities to participate in such programs, despite the potential for after-school programs to substantially increase school success.
The ACE Project provides consistent, comprehensive after-school programs and summer opportunities that contribute to the attainment of the “Five C’s” of positive youth development: competence, connection, caring, character, and compassion. Improvements in these five domains are consistent with the goals of effective youth development programs and are considered to positively impact the extent to which youth thrive. Approximately 300 students (K-5) attending under-performing elementary schools get into the game each year between three cities, and we recruit coaches and mentors from the school community to enhance local trust and leadership.