A report by the National League of Cities informs us that:
During a typical week, as many as 14 million children and youth across the United States lack adult supervision during non-school hours. According to the FBI, the lack of structured and supervised after-school programs in American communities contributes to a higher incidence of drug and alcohol use and delinquent or criminal behaviors. As important as the heightened risks are, there are significant missed opportunities involved in leaving so many children on their own for a considerable portion of the day. The after-school hours provide an ideal time to reinforce children’s learning gains, provide enrichment opportunities and supplement academic curriculum offered at school. It has been well-documented that children who attend an after-school program miss fewer days of school and show better rates of homework completion and school behavior, as well as higher test scores when compared to their peers.
Annual Internal Evaluations
Every year in May, Stone Soup asks parents, children and principals to evaluate the programs in order to improve the quality of care.
Here are some responses to the survey:
- 99% of parents believe the program has been beneficial to their children; are comfortable knowing that their children are in a safe place; are grateful for the homework assistance given their children; are treated respectfully; have an open door to talk with the teachers.
- They also unanimously said the atmosphere is warm and friendly and are always welcomed by staff and that the hours meet their needs.
- They agreed that the policies are clear, fair and consistently enforced.
- But most of all they tell us that their children are happy at Stone Soup.
The Children’s annual survey demonstrates:
- They overwhelmingly believe that they are safe, learning new things and that their teachers are fair and care about them
- They report that they think they do better in school because they get help with their homework and finish it at Stone Soup instead of taking it home. They also believe that they like school better because of Stone Soup.
- Here are some quotes from the annual surveys:
- One parent says: “If it wasn’t for the Stone Soup Program it would be very difficult to keep custody of my daughter. We love Stone Soup.”
- Another parent: “I’m low income. I can afford it!”
- “My kids love it here. They never want to leave.”
- “My child feels comfortable, confident and safe.”
- “Everyone there loves my daughter and she feels they are family.”
Children tell us:
- “I like playing with my new friends (6th grade).”
- “My favorite part of Stone Soup is that you’re safe and the Stone Soup staff cares “about me (6th grade).
- “I like doing my homework because it makes me more -smarter-. (3″‘ grade).”
- “Stone Soup is my favorite thing. I love Stone Soup because we get to do anything we want, but we have to listen to our group leader”
Stone Soup Child Care Programs provide a positive option to a demographic with few resources and solutions. Because we have a 30+ year history, we see the impact on former students who are now adults. Some former students come and work for us especially those enrolled in college and many enroll their own children in Stone Soup. The written and verbal ‘thanks’ we receive from past and present students is touching, overwhelming, and our best marker of our effectiveness.