With the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act, New Mexico has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to use federal funding to dramatically affect the lives of New Mexico families by increasing access to and affordability of afterschool and summer enrichment programs in community schools over the next two years. Research shows that afterschool and summer learning programs help close the opportunity gap for students from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. By 8th grade, low-income youth have 6000 fewer hours of enrichment and extracurricular activities than youth from higher income families.
Children and youth who participate:
- Gain new experiences and life skills
- Have a safe place to be
- Have more opportunities to find their voice through self-expression
- Have more chances to explore and kindle their passions
- Stay connected to school and improve academic achievement
- Develop leadership and social skills
- Feel positive about themselves
The Afterschool Alliance has compiled a toolkit designed to help local programs reach out to school districts about partnering to support student recovery using ARP dollars, as well as a series of articles intended to educate local community organizations and LEAs about these funds. The website HelpKidsRecover.org is home base for education leaders seeking to utilize ARP funds for effective afterschool and summer. The site has been updated recently to include:
- Examples of ways state and local education agencies are using relief funds for afterschool and summer programming,
- A timeline of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds, and
- A promotional kit to help get the word out to educators about this resource.
Get started by educating yourself regarding this unique opportunity by reading through the information available at www.3to6.co/rescue and then get started using the toolkit to contact your local school districts about ways to collaborate with them to help the children and youth of New Mexico recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and get back to learning, growing and thriving in out-of-school time.