High-Quality Afterschool Programs in Wyoming
Afterschool programs help keep youth out of trouble in Wyoming
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: Greater Wyoming Big Brothers Big Sisters
The Greater Wyoming Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) has gone through an evolution in its programming, growing from a primarily mentorship program in 2000, to today, providing comprehensive afterschool and summer learning programs, as well as a program specifically for youth involved in the juvenile justice system. BBBS’s shift in programming came about when two local juvenile probation officers who saw the value of mentorships approached BBBS to pilot a Department of Family Services program focused on supportive adult relationships. Braided with funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and 21st Century Community Learning Centers funding (21st CCLC)—federal funding to support local afterschool and summer learning programs—BBBS was able to open its first center that was aimed at substance and alcohol misuse prevention.
With continued 21st CCLC funding, BBBS has been able to expand both its programming and centers. Students in the program—which now has three sites for elementary schoolers and one for middle schoolers—receive academic help and can choose from a variety of activities, such as arts and crafts, STEM, recreation, recording and editing music, relationship classes, and life skills practice. Programming for system-involved youth has a significant service-learning component to strengthen connections between youth and the community. Once a week, BBBS meets with schools, community-based services, law enforcement, and members from the mental health community to discuss youth who have been involved with law enforcement. Members of the group develop recommendations and a plan of action to provide support for both youth and their families. Between 2000 and 2017, the number of juvenile citations in Albany county decreased by 46 percent, from 285 in 2000 to 154 in 2017.
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