After School: Still the Prime Time for Juvenile Crime in Connecticut
Afterschool Fights Crime in Connecticut
The more than 5,000 law enforcement leaders around the nation who are members of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, have long known that the hours immediately after school lets out, when parents are likely not available to supervise, are the prime-time for juvenile crime. Over the past 20 years, law enforcement leaders across the country have relied on high-quality afterschool programs to provide supportive, stable, and enriching environments with caring adults that keep children and youth out of trouble and safe, while supporting their academic success, and social and emotional development.
The Prime Time for Juvenile Crime in Connecticut
In Connecticut, juvenile crime peaks from 2 to 6 p.m. on school days, with about 30 percent of all juvenile crime on those days occurring during the hours following the last school bell.
Program Highlight: Pathways/Senderos Center, New Britain
For 52 weeks out of the year, Monday through Friday, New Britain youth aged 10-18 head over to Pathways/Senderos Center (Pathways) after school, during school breaks, and over the summer for comprehensive out-of-school time programming that provides engaging programming, keeps them safe, and helps prepare them for their futures. In 1993, Pathways opened its doors through the support of state funding that was specifically intended to combat Connecticut’s high rates of teen pregnancy; now in its 26th year, Pathways has expanded tremendously to focus on positive youth development, career readiness, and violence prevention. Students enter the program in the 5th grade and stay through their senior year of high school. During this seven-year period, they participate in age-appropriate programming that helps them grow academically, socially, and emotionally. Connections with local law enforcement and community-based organizations provide wrap-around supports that helps youth in the program understand their community and feel a part of that community.
When kids realize that they have adults that truly care about their well-being, that’s what makes a difference.
Nick Jakubowski, Co-Executive Director of Pathways
Whether working in peer groups around violence prevention, learning important job-readiness skills in a summer career prep program, or expressing themselves through art and creative expression groups, the focus is on providing youth with a sense of constancy and developing interpersonal relationships. Investment in building relationships with the youth is what truly makes a significant impact Nick Jakubowski, co-Executive Director of Pathways, reflects. “When kids realize that they have adults that truly care about their well-being, that truly care about where they’re going in the world, that’s what makes a difference.” And this difference in New Britain has been staggering—more than 26 years’ worth of collected data has indicated the clear success of this model. All students who remain with the program graduate from high school; 91 percent of graduates enroll into post-secondary education, mostly into four year institutions of higher education; and 97 percent of graduates who are able to work are employed. Additionally, program surveys have indicated that Pathways students are less likely to take drugs or engage in violence compared to national and state data.
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