After-school hours are a breeding ground for delinquency and other problematic behaviors among young people. The recurrent observation that the highest rates of violent crime committed by juveniles occur between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays highlights how young people spend their time after school (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, n.d). Schools could thus focus on after-school programs such as a boys and girls club to reduce delinquency by keeping the students busy and supervised.
Structured programming prevents students from participating in harmful behaviors by encouraging them to adopt more positive routines that keep them busy with productive and interesting activities. Examples of concrete features of structured programming include the establishment of a regular timetable, pursuing learning objectives that are developmentally appropriate and clear, and using hands-on activities based on the participant’s areas of interest. It is also vital to acknowledge that engaging the youth properly necessitates integrating structured programming with a gender-informed strategy that considers the distinct requirements, interests, and capabilities of both boys and girls. With students engaged and working towards a particular goal, they will find it less constructive to engage in crime.
In the context of an after-school program, a boys’ and girls’ club would provide sequential, energetic, concentrated, and explicit activities to supplement the students’ current level of academic education. This program employs a linked and coordinated collection of activities, incorporates active forms of learning, focuses on specific personal and social skills, and includes at least one component dedicated to developing these abilities. The boys and Girls Club is an example of a high-quality program that offers young people a secure and consistent setting. This atmosphere may assist in preventing young people from participating in risky behavior or committing criminal activity. Additionally, this approach leads to beneficial outcomes such as improvements in attendance, classroom behavior, and academic performance (Jenson et al., 2018). After-school programs complement in-class learning and thus are a twofold approach to helping reduce delinquency while reinforcing classroom learning.
Another critical aspect of the Boys and girls club as an after-school program that the school system can leverage is its ability to promote positive youth development such as socio-emotional, work habits, and leadership skills. This after-school program provides young people opportunities for self-expression, exploring their skills, and forming connections with adults who support their endeavors. Apart from keeping students occupied and getting their minds off criminal thoughts, they get the opportunity to learn life skills that are critical not only in the present but also in their future endeavors. This after-school program might be viewed as a place to harness resources from communities, families, and schools to reinforce learning and encourage skills that cannot be gained in an educational institution setting.
After-school hours are excellent periods for adolescents to be victims or perpetrators of juvenile crime. Similarly, they are prime times for youth to experiment with harmful activities such as careless indulgence in sexual activities and the use of alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana. By giving young people the opportunity to engage in positive activities and cultivate good connections with adults, supervised after-school programs have the potential to cut down on the level of juvenile delinquency and engagement in behaviors that put them in danger. Investing in programs that help young people become productive members of society is a wise investment in both present and future society.
Jenson, J. M., Veeh, C., Anyon, Y., Mary, J. S., Calhoun, M., Tejada, J., & Lechuga-Peña, S. (2018). Effects of an after-school program on the academic outcomes of children and youth residing in public housing neighborhoods: A quasi-experimental study. Children and Youth Services Review, 88, 211-217. Web.
Office of juvenile justice and Delinquency Prevention, (n.d) Violent crimes by youth (ages 7-17) occur most frequently in the hours immediately following the close of school on school days. Statistical Briefing Book. Web.