Thursday, April 21, 2011

Starting an After School Program- The Beginning

In less than one month, I will be graduating with my Master's in Social Work from Delaware State University.  I've decided that with my degree in hand, I will be trying to implement an After School Program for children in the State of Delaware.  While I'm still in the beginning stages, I have a lot of ideas and support and I've decided to take you along on my journey.  Here is my current After School Project Proposal:


Presented by: Nicole Outten
10 April 2011

Delaware Children’s Community Learning Program

Delaware Children’s Community Learning Program (DCCLP) will be a non-profit afterschool program for children in kindergarten to twelfth grade.  DCCLP will focus on using extended hours from 2 pm to 6 pm to increase learning time by focusing on education and tutoring to help improve children’s homework assignments, reading and academic levels. While focusing on education, DCCLP will also incorporate many other important aspects in a child’s life such as diversity and cultural competence, personal and social skills, physical education and health in a safe location where the children’s individual strengths will be emphasized. DCCLP will start in the Wilmington/Claymont area and expand throughout the State of Delaware. This program will be free or low-cost to families. The purpose of this paper is to introduce you to the ideas behind DCCLP and the benefits to our community in Delaware.

Mission, values, goals and objectives of DDCLP


DCCLP’s Mission is to enhance the lives of children and youth in the state of Delaware through a comprehensive extended education afterschool program.  We look at the child as a whole in their community and environment.   We will focus on improving the health, personal and social skills while providing a safe haven for children and youth to thrive.  We embrace cultural diversity, awareness and competency. We strive to have strong partnerships with families, schools and the community.


DCCLP believes that all children deserve a chance to achieve their best potential. We will provide the resources to help children and youth reach their academic goals.  We will incorporate activities to promote physical health.  We will provide social and cultural learning opportunities.  We believe that no child, youth, family or community member should be judged based on their race, religion, gender, national origin or socio-economic status.


The Goal of DCCLP is to provide a macro solution to the micro problems that children in our community and the State of Delaware are facing. Through tutoring, DCCLP will help students with an increased completion and quality of homework assignments. DCCLP will also help to improve children’s reading levels and help the students meet academic standards.  In addition to the educational goals, DCCLP will help improve the children’s personal skills, social skills and self-esteem.  Also, by including health and physical education, DCCLP will help to lower obesity rates in children in our community while at the same time providing a safe environment.


First it will be necessary to find an appropriate location to set up DCCLP.  After a location has been established, DCCLP will help to increase completion of quality of homework assignments and reading and academic levels by setting up separate homework centers, providing supplies and tutors that will support children and youth with their academic goals.  This will allow children and youth the space, structure, time and attention necessary to improve their academics.  
We will use evidence-based skill training programs to help promote personal skills, social skills and self-esteem.  For example, the Stop and Think Social Skill Program teaches valuable skills such as dealing with teasing, ignoring distractions, handling peer pressure and setting goals.
Understanding diversity will be incorporated by having programs and activities established.  
We will incorporate the 5-2-1- Almost None Formula of eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, limiting screen time to no more than two hours a day, getting at least one hour of physical activity a day and drinking almost no sugary beverages into our program by educating the children with billboards and activities and promoting healthy snacks and physical activity at DCCLP.  

Description of Service Delivery System

DCCLP will achieve their goals and objectives by incorporating different members of the community from educational and social services staff to volunteer services.  In the beginning the program will consist of three paid staff members - one Program Director with a Masters in Social Work and two Educational Coordinators with a Masters or Bachelors in Education, and will continue to expand with tutors, group leaders, activity specialists, site coordinators and administrative assistants as funding becomes available.  Because of the initially small staff, volunteers and interns will be an integral part of helping this program to succeed.  

As with any community program, before any program can begin, it must have the necessary funding.  There are different funding sources available to help DCCLP become a reality enable to make a positive change in our community.  Donations and sponsorships from members of community will be pertinent. DCCLP’s goal would be to become a state-licensed child-care center which would allow us to receive funding from the Child Care and Development Fund in order to keep this program free or low-cost.  21st Century Community Learning Centers provides funding to community based organizations that provide opportunities for academic enrichment.  The Carol M. White Physical Education Program provides a grant that supports innovative approach to health and physical activity.  Funding may also be available from Delaware’s “Race to the Top” grant program as in section (E)(2) of the Race to the Top grant requires “increased learning time” as a goal of turning around the lowest-achieving schools.  

Description of Client System

Our clients will consist of clients from different backgrounds in the Wilmington / Claymont area.   After DCCLP shows its effectiveness in this smaller location, it will be able to expand throughout the State of Delaware. The children will range in age from five years old to eighteen years old with a mix of both male and females. DCCLP aims to have our children consist of a diverse group of races and socio-economic backgrounds.  DCCLP will not discriminate against any child or family based on race, gender or socio-economic background, but will instead embrace these differences and encourage the children as well as their families to become more culturally competent.  Many of the children will likely have working parents who will find great support in having their children at a safe location while they are at their place of employment.  

Addressing the Problem

There are many issues that are affecting children and youth in our communities.  Unfortunately in Delaware, many students are not meeting academic standards.  For instance, the NAEP Math Scores in 2009 only 36% of the 4th graders scored proficient and above, 47% scored basic and 16% scored below basic.  DCCLP will align itself with the educational goals of Delaware’s “Race to the Top” grant program, with goals such as achieving 60% proficient or advanced on NAEP 4th grade math by 2014-15(Delaware’s Education Plan Overview, 2010).  Approximately 40% of Delaware’s children and youth are affected by childhood overweight and obesity, which is higher than the National Average of 35% (Nemours Health & Prevention Services, 2011).  In Delaware, 31% (45,011) of K-12 youth are responsible for taking care of themselves after school (Afterschool Alliance, America After 3 PM, 2009).  These problems may at first glance seem unique, but they are all interrelated and should be addressed in a program that combines solutions and education from every aspect.


The process of IMAGINE includes having an innovative idea, mustering support and formulating an action system, identifying and utilizing assets, specifying goals and objectives, implementing a plan, neutralizing opposition and evaluating the process.  Delaware Children’s Community Learning Program utilizes this plan as shown:

I (nnovative Idea)
• An afterschool program that focuses on not one single aspect of the problems of our children, but incorporating many different aspects together.  
• Incorporating programs already in place such as the 5-2-1- Almost None Formula
• Utilizing evidence-based skill training programs to help promote personal skills, social skills and self-esteem

M(uster Support and Formulate an Action System)
• Support from volunteers
• Strong partnerships with schools
• Involvement with family members

A(ssets- Identify and Utilize)
         Possible funding from donations and sponsorships
         Possible grant funding from 21st Century Community Learning Centers and
Delaware’s “Race to the Top”
         Volunteers and Supporters

G(oals- Specify Goals and Objectives)

         Increase completion and quality of homework assignments.
         Improve children’s reading levels and help the students meet academic standards
         Improve the children’s personal skills, social skills and self-esteem
         Increase health and physical education and lower obesity rates

I(mplement Plan)
         Necessary to find location and possibly transportation
         Set up staff and volunteer database
         Set up schedule, programs, activities and snack plan

N(eutralize Opposition)
         Promote organization prior to school year in order to ensure proper attendance
         Use evidence-based practices in order to promote the most positive outcomes
         Hire and train qualified and caring staff and volunteers

E(valuate the Process)
         Observe DCCLP once the program has been established
         ​Obtain feedback from parents, students and teachers on the students’ experience
         ​After an appropriate amount of time, compare students’ academic performance

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