High-Quality Afterschool Programs in Georgia
Afterschool programs help keep youth out of trouble in Georgia
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.
Program Highlight: At-Promise Center, Atlanta
The At-Promise Youth and Community Center was established in 2017 by the Atlanta Police Foundation as part of a citywide initiative to reduce juvenile crime and improve officer-youth relations. The Center provides diversion and preventive services through a collaboration between six youth-serving agencies throughout the city of Atlanta. Youth can be referred to the Center by the Atlanta Police Department, the Fulton County Juvenile Court, Atlanta Public Schools, and community members. Situated within the same building, CHRIS 180, the Urban League of Greater Atlanta, Atlanta Police Athletic League, Raising Expectations, and Boys and Girls Club of Metro Atlanta collaborate to deliver services that include behavioral health assessments and educational supports, sports, music, arts, and leadership programming opportunities. Since opening its doors, the At-Promise Center has served more than 700 youth.
The recidivism rate for youth in the At-Promise Center’s pre-diversion and diversion programs is 3 percent, compared to a national average of more than 70 percent.
The At-Promise Center and its collaborative nature is non-traditional in its essence; the day-to-day programming is equally unique. During the day, the Center provides GED preparation and support services to youth who have dropped out of or been suspended from school, creating a safe and engaging environment for young people who might otherwise engage in risky behaviors. Through an assessment, youth have the option to be placed in more structured programs after school that range from a gardening club to a yoga class engaging kids in self-awareness, from a financial literacy class that discusses budgeting and personal financing to a drum class that teaches African drum and traditional dance. Another unique aspect of the At-Promise Center is the daily presence of police officers who are not for security, rather, they are there to engage and mentor youth in the program. Young people connect with officers in a humanizing and honest setting, and officers have the chance to build relationships that allow them to better understand and want to invest in these young people’s futures. Providing this safe space and sense of support has had a clear impact on the surrounding community. The recidivism rate for youth in the At-Promise Center’s pre-diversion and diversion programs is 3 percent, compared to a national average of more than 70 percent. 96 percent of participating high school seniors graduated and 89 percent of students who applied for jobs have successfully found employment. According to Aparicio (AP) Thompson, Director of CHRIS 180 at the At-Promise Center, providing this safe place to be who you are without judgement is a critical factor in the success they have seen. “We don’t care how you came to us initially, we care about how you leave us and that you leave better than you came in.”
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