Many children and families living within Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) communities are given little to no access to the educational benefits of their surrounding areas. This, at times, has led to high crime rates, poor academic performance and a continued cycle of being stuck in a system from which so many want to desperately free themselves. Delaware 4-H Afterschool has begun to change all of that. Through a Grant from the 21st Century Learning Centers, 4-H Afterschool and DSHA have paired up to give these children experiences that may be foreign to them, in an educational and fun way.
The five DSHA sites are Liberty Court, Mifflin Meadows, Clarks Corner, Burton Village, Laverty Lane and Knollwood.
In discussions with DSHA staff, 4-H Afterschool staff came up with a list of areas where the children needed extra education. The staff focused on:
- Academic improvement
- Behavior modification
- Attendance at school
- Healthy Lifestyles
- Exposure to outside positive influences
Since the program’s inception in 2009:
- DSHA staff has reported an increase of children attending school regularly.
- Crime during the time period when afterschool takes place is down significantly, as is other times during the day.
- 4-H Afterschool staff has seen detentions and suspensions for the enrolled children fall.
- Children have completed in county and statewide contests with great self-respect.
- Worked with outside agencies to bring in Adult learning component to the communities
- Created a safe environment for children to come when they need it.