A recent Ipsos-Reid/kids.now/State Farm survey indicates that 96 per cent of Canadian parents rank self-esteem as the most important factor for high school success, above academic skill or athletic ability. This finding was consistent across all provinces, age groups, and education levels.
After-school programs like kids.now provide youth with a role model and tools to succeed in school, helping kids realize their full potential and increase the likelihood of high school graduation.
“Almost half of low-income students make their decision about postsecondary education before they even set foot in high school,” says research conducted by the MESA Project.
Education experts say we need to encourage adolescents and teens in elementary and middle school to start choosing career paths with the possibility of attending college or university.
Parents indicate that in spite of being more likely to enroll their kids in youth programs that focus on life skills development, 50 per cent have a hard time finding quality afterschool programs in their community.
According to the UN Report Card on Child Well-Being, Canadian youth rank in the bottom third of youth in 21 OECD countries for family and peer relationships, behaviour and risks, and subjective well-being (how youth feel about themselves).
Research shows that youth involved in mentoring programs are less likely to start using drugs (46%) and alcohol (27%); have improved attitudes toward completing work, and have improved peer and family relationships.
Youth mentoring programs have been shown to result in lower rates of school absenteeism, reduce violent behaviour, and improve self-esteem.
Research shows between the hours of 3 and 6 p.m. is a high-risk period; untended kids are most likely to engage in delinquent behaviour. They are also more vulnerable to assault during this time period.
Access to safe, supervised and engaging programs can get kids off couches, and into interactive physical activity. These programs can also be critical in helping children develop life-success skills, self-esteem and relationships with peers and mentors.
Well-developed mentorship programs create solid relationships between mentors and youth that improve the youth’s school performance, behaviour and attitudes toward school, and instill hope for the future.
The middle childhood years (ages 6-12 ) are often characterized as the “forgotten years of childhood,” seldom receiving the benefits of public policy, public and private sector investments, and media attention that are offered to early childhood or the teen years. You can make a difference!
Some companies have a volunteer matching grant program whereby a company makes a financial donation to a charity when an employee volunteers for a certain number of hours at that charity. Volunteering can also help a charity financially, too!