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2    WHEREAS, Out of School Time (OST) programs are a critical
3service for youth, families, and communities throughout
4Illinois; this was evident during 2020, the first year of the
5pandemic, when OST programs offered emergency services for
6children of frontline workers, provided tens of thousands of
7meals for children and their families, supported youths'
8social and emotional needs, and served as virtual learning
9sites in partnership with schools; these programs were often
10the safest place, both physically and emotionally, for
11numerous school age youth to spend their day; and
12    WHEREAS, Each year, regardless of a pandemic, Out of
13School Time programs benefit communities throughout Illinois
15        (1) Being a critical part in violence prevention in
16    communities by actively engaging youth in supportive
17    environments; afterschool programs also provide a safe
18    haven and help dissuade youth from engaging in risky
19    behaviors on and offline; studies have found that
20    participants in afterschool programs are 30% less likely
21    to participate in criminal activities;
22        (2) Supporting their participants social and emotional
23    learning (SEL), as well as fostering character
24    development; according to the Afterschool Alliance,



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1    "Afterschool and summer learning programs are a unique
2    setting where youth can connect to positive adult mentors,
3    feel safe to try new things, and have the opportunity to
4    acquire new skills and develop mastery in an area.";
5    compared to control students, students participating in
6    SEL programs showed significantly more positive outcomes
7    with respect to enhanced SEL skills, attitudes, positive
8    social behavior, and academic performance and
9    significantly lower levels of conduct problems and
10    emotional distress;
11        (3) Partnering in education with schools; OST programs
12    offer educational support during the school year and
13    lessen learning loss during the summer; regarding the
14    COVID pandemic, OST programs are critical to learning
15    recovery; studies show that afterschool programs are
16    sparking students' interest in school, leading to better
17    school attendance, grades, standardized test scores, and
18    behavior; OST programs also support academic outcomes by
19    providing STEM activities, mentoring programs, career
20    exploration, arts enrichment, and physical activity;
21        (4) Allowing parents, guardians, or caregivers to go
22    to work or attend school knowing their children are safe
23    and receiving quality programming, with 82% of parents
24    agreeing that their afterschool program provides peace of
25    mind and helps them keep their job; working families and
26    businesses also benefit from afterschool programs that



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1    ensure that youth have a safe place to go while parents or
2    guardians are at work; parents and guardians who do not
3    have access to childcare miss an average of eight days of
4    work per year, and this decreased worker productivity
5    costs businesses up to $300 billion annually; and
6        (5) Ensuring nutrition for youth through healthy after
7    school snacks and, in many cases, evening meals; 96% of
8    afterschool programs in Illinois offer at least a snack in
9    their programs, while a quarter offer either breakfast,
10    lunch, or dinner; many OST programs are USDA meal sites
11    with over 28,056,694 meals and snacks being served to
12    Illinois youth in these programs from October 1, 2020 to
13    September 30, 2021; and be it further
14    WHEREAS, The need for more Out of School Time programs is
15great in Illinois, with four children waiting to access an
16afterschool program for every one child currently enrolled;
17additionally, nearly 430,000 youth who are not enrolled in a
18summer program say they would be if one was available to them;
19not only will Out of School Time programs cause a noticeable
20change in areas of need in our State, but they will also save
21money in the long-term; by increasing kids' earning potential,
22improving academic achievement, and reducing juvenile crime
23and delinquency, afterschool/OST programs save up to $9 for
24every $1 invested; therefore, be it



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4School Time programs in Illinois and recognize that they serve
5as a key component to supporting violence prevention, academic
6achievement, social/emotional well-being, nutritional needs,
7and a strong workforce, and we further recognize these
8programs' importance in a continuum of care for youth from
9birth to adulthood.