CHICAGO – Beginning in the 2012-13 school year, parents and students will be able to visit a single website to find and register for a wide variety of after-school programs offered by various city departments, agencies, community groups and non-profits.
“After-school programs play an important role in keeping kids safe and nurturing their interests, and also encourage academic achievement and the development of strong work habits and social skills,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Having this information in one easy-to-use location eliminates the maze that parents must navigate to find programs from multiple agencies.”
The site will provide a one-stop-shop on out-of-school activities and programs for youth ages 6 to 21. Parents and students will be able to use the new site to search for programs in a variety of ways, including activity, location, time and cost. For example, site users will be able to sort programs by interest categories, ranging from academic and creative programs to volunteering activities.
Programs from Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Library, Department of Family and Support Services and non-profit program providers will be listed. Chicago Allies for Youth Success, a public-private partnership of organizations, will help develop and expand the website and integrate program offerings. Already, six major community organizations have committed to be part of the planning process and work on this project, including : YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago , United Way , UCAN , Metropolitan Family Services , Boys and Girls Club ,After School Matters.
In 2010, city-funded programs served roughly 220,000 youths and the partners in Chicago Allies for Youth Success served more than 36,000.
Historically, teens and families have not had easy and reliable access to information about program quality and real-time availability of opportunities. The enrollment process across these various programs is inconsistent and information on program quality is not easily accessible.
Similarly, program providers and funders have not had access to reliable information about the interests and needs of youth and families, nor about what other programs are available in the same community.
After-school hours include the hours before and after-school, on weekends and holidays, as well as during the summer.
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