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The Growing Importance of After School in Rural Communities

Abstract

"As rural children and families grapple with issues such as poverty, lower wages and educational attainment levels, food deserts and obesity, the need for additional supports in rural communities is undeniable. Afterschool and summer learning programs hold enormous potential to fill the gaps in rural communities while also helping these communities prosper. Afterschool and summer learning programs are providing new learning opportunities for children--helping them to discover newfound interests, explore a variety of topic areas, and learn about different cultures and communities beyond their own zip code. Across the nation, afterschool programs are stepping up their efforts to provide more than a safe place for children to go when they get out of school. The role of afterschool programs is growing, and research shows that quality programs are helping their students make academic gains, activating a greater interest in learning, providing supportive mentors, and helping kids stay healthy and active with exercise and healthy foods."

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