PEAVEY INT'L. HEADQUARTERS A new survey from the Afterschool Alliance finds that participation in afterschool programs is on the rise.
Nationwide, the percentage of children enrolled in afterschool programs has increased from 11% to 15% since 2004, while the number of children unsupervised during the afternoon has increased 25% during the same time period (from 14.3 million to 15.1 million).
Mary Peavey, President of Peavey Electronics Corporation and member of the Afterschool Alliance's national board of directors, said that she is happy that people are embracing afterschool programs, but cautions that we must find ways to retain and grow those programs across the nation.
"We have worked with the Afterschool Alliance and our leaders to make afterschool programs a priority across the nation," said Peavey. "Today, public support for afterschool programs is high but the number of unsupervised children is growing. We've made significant progress, but there is still a lot of work to do."
The statistics are part of the landmark America After 3PM study, conducted for the Afterschool Alliance and sponsored by the JCPenney Afterschool Fund. The results were released in conjunction with Lights On Afterschool, a nationwide rally created by the Afterschool Alliance that emphasizes the importance of afterschool programs. The event is being celebrated in more than 7,500 communities today, and is chaired by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
In Peavey's home state of Mississippi, leaders continue to champion the benefits of afterschool programs and the benefits they give to children and families. Governor Haley Barbour declared Oct. 22, 2009, Lights On Afterschool Day across Mississippi in a proclamation issued today, and U.S. Senator Thad Cochrana member of the Afterschool Caucushelped pass a Senate resolution today supporting Lights On Afterschool.
Peavey and Mississippi State Rep. Greg Snowden of Meridian helped Mississippi become the first state to offer the "Afterschool Is Key" specialty car tag to support afterschool programs in the state. The tags are available now from county tax collectors across the state for a $31 fee.
"We're grateful to have leaders like Governor Barbour, Senator Cochran and Representative Snowden, who understand the importance of afterschool programs," said Peavey. "I applaud their leadership."
More than 15 million children are unsupervised between the hours of 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. nationwide. Children who participate in afterschool programs during these hours are 50% less likely to smoke, drink or use drugs. Research shows that participation in afterschool programs also improves school attendance and performance and increases expectations for the future.
Since 2005, Peavey has participated in Lights On Afterschool with events featuring music stars Bo Bice, Cupid and Julia Burton, and drawing participation from state leaders and music-industry professionals. Peavey developed the "Peavey Afterschool (Not) Idle™" youth singing competition to further the goals of Lights On Afterschool while helping to foster kids' talent, creativity and hard work. More information on afterschool programs is available at www.afterschoolalliance.org.