Afterschool Programs Benefit Pennsylvanians

HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania’s bi-partisan, bi-cameral Afterschool Caucus today announced the release of a report regarding the value of out-of-school time (OST) programs to the Commonwealth’s young people, families, communities and economy.

The Afterschool Caucus, co-chaired by Senators Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster), John Yudichak (D-Luzerne) and Representatives Mindy Fee (R-Lancaster) and Jake Wheatley (D-Allegheny) had supported the funding for the study, which reviewed national and state research to determine key components of effective OST programs and to make recommendations regarding the best use of these programs.

The report, authored by the Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Association (PSAYDN), details specific findings relating to the effectiveness of high quality afterschool programs, including academic achievement, learning outcomes, return on investment, and helping families.

“Today’s report confirms what many people in Pennsylvania already know,” said Representative Jake Wheatley.  “Afterschool programs are instrumental in transforming young lives in almost every respect – academically, socially and developmentally.”

Senator Aument reviewed some of the data that demonstrated the effectiveness of OST programs.  He cited the report’s conclusions that afterschool and summer programs can add 1,080 hours of academic enrichment to a child’s year, which is equivalent to the number of hours in 144 school days.

“The data shows us that afterschool programs are improving academic achievement, inspiring learning, are producing a positive return on the investment and are helping Pennsylvania families,” said Sen. Aument.

Citing meta-analysis and other data in the report, Sen. Aument noted that young people who have access to a high quality OST program are experiencing improved school grades and test scores, exhibit more positive social skills, improved their work habits, demonstrated higher levels of persistence and saw reductions in reports of misconduct.  “In addition to these phenomenal outcomes, we also learned that afterschool programs are a terrific investment, producing economic returns well in excess of the contributions being made.”

Representative Fee highlighted the many supports that afterschool programs provide to both young people and their families.

“While OST programs are promoting so many great outcomes – like character building and test scores – they also provide a safe, structured environment that parents can depend on to help meet family needs,” said the Representative, noting that 1.4 million Pennsylvania school-age children have working parents and two out of five low-income working parents have significant trouble finding care beyond school hours for their children.

Senator Yudichak cited the good work of SHINE, a nationally recognized afterschool program in northeast Pennsylvania that is modeled on best practices with the mission to link schools and homes in education to build a strong academic and social foundation for children.

The Senator reported that from 2008 to 2015, more than 1,600 first through fifth grade students participated in the SHINE program and that:

  • 79 percent improved in academic performance
  • 62 percent improved in classroom behavior
  • 97 percent were promoted to the next grade
  • 91 percent had exceptionally good or satisfactory school attendance
  • 93 percent had satisfactory or above grades in science

“Afterschool programs keep our children safe, inspire greater academic achievement and are an essential ingredient to building a 21st century public school system,” said Sen. Yudichak.

The Senator also noted that the issuance of the report outlining the positive contributions from OST programs is timely.  On October 20, Pennsylvania will join other states to celebrate Lights On Afterschool, which will promote the importance of quality afterschool programs.

“The national celebration of Lights On Afterschool promotes the importance of quality afterschool programs and recognizes their value to the children of Pennsylvania,” said Sen. Yudichak.

The Pennsylvania Lights On Afterschool rallies will be among more than 8,000 similar events across America and participants will see students conduct scientific experiments, athletic performances, participate in games, live bands and a showcase of other talent.

The 17th annual Lights On Afterschool is organized by the Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit public awareness and advocacy organization working to ensure that all children have access to quality afterschool programs.  A complete list of Pennsylvania celebrations is available at

For a copy of the Afterschool:  Improving Lives in Pennsylvania report or for more information about Pennsylvania’s afterschool network, go to www.


CONTACT:  Jake Smeltz, (717) 787-4420