An increasing dependence on technology and social media can make it difficult to hold a child’s attention. Media outlets broadcast distressing news and negative influences to our kids nearly 24/7.
These distractions can result in behavioral issues and poor school performance. Parents are dealing with these challenges while the cost of living continues to increase, which makes raising children especially difficult for the many single parents in our community.
But despite these challenges, parents in our community have high expectations for their kids and are committed to providing them with the best education possible. They understand the value of the diverse community we live in and the importance of out-of-school-time enrichment and extracurricular activities.
At Variety, we work closely with our parents to help them meet the challenges of raising and educating their children and take advantage of the many resources Astoria has to offer.
We have consistently seen the high level of dedication our parents have to their kids. In September of 2016, one of our club parents led a successful campaign to install a streetlight on the dangerous corner of 21st Street and 30th Road, ensuring no more children will have to cross an unsafe street to get to our afterschool program.
A few months later, he and other parents helped us launch a van service, allowing us to serve more schools and more kids. This is not to mention the dozens of parents who volunteer, advocate, and generally support our kids and our club each year.
These stories show what can happen when parents take an active role in ensuring their children’s access to safe spaces and quality education. The benefits of parental involvement in education are well-documented, but research also shows that afterschool programs form an important bridge between parents and schools.
According to Mark R. Warren, associate professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, community-based organizations help parents form connections with their children’s schools, even in communities where parental involvement is typically low.
Some of the benefits of parental involvement in education include higher grades and test scores, higher attendance rates, better social skills and adaptability, and higher graduation rates. Community-based organizations help make these gains happen.
At the Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens, we are committed to giving our kids every advantage possible as they pursue their education. Our club parents are one of our most valuable resources in fulfilling this mission.
As Variety looks toward the future, we aim to create even more meaningful opportunities for parents to get involved. Parent engagement will be one of our top priorities as our club continues to grow.
We are grateful for the amazing contributions our parents are already making, and look forward to partnering with them to create great futures for the kids that need us most.
Matthew Troy is executive director of the Variety Boys & Girls Club in Astoria.