Keeping young teens out of trouble

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Beth Wheelock Tallon
Monday, October 8, 2012

The following entry is written by Carrie Kulinski, Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Janesville.

The school year brings schedule changes for many families. Working parents of middle school students, in particular, are wondering if the after-school program that worked when their child was in elementary school is still appropriate for young teenagers. What are appropriate solutions for that critical time period between the end of the school day and family dinner time?

Let's begin with the facts: It is between the hours of 3p.m. and 6p.m. on weekdays that the majority of episodes of high-risk behavior occur, including sexual activity, substance abuse, and criminal actions. Lack of adult supervision has been linked to lower GPAs, increased likelihood of accidents and injuries, and lower social competence. Teens who are unsupervised after school are 37% more likely to become teen parents (The Afterschool Alliance).

Among the many reasons to provide supervision, as well as a structured environment for your young teen, the most pressing reason is simply to keep your teenager safe.

Teenagers that are fortunate enough to make the sports team often have their afternoons consumed with practice. What about the non-athletes? Or the kids who don't make the team, the band, the play? As a practical matter, parents of middle schoolers may find their after-school needs changing during the course of the year, the season, or even on a weekly or daily basis. This can become a complicated matter to manage for parents.

Parents of teens will be happy to hear that the Boys & Girls Club of Janesville has started new teen hours at the club. Monday through Friday between the hours of 6-7 pm the club is only open to teens! There are special teen activities, themes, food, and fun! These activities encourage good decision-making, problem solving, and they build self-esteem. They offer education and positive role models in a supervised setting, all activities that support healthy outcomes for youth. Additionally, they can provide important experiential learning opportunities and homework assistance, both providing critical support that enhances academic success. The bottom line is: Young teenagers are in need of after-school care. Without it, they are more likely to engage in risky behavior, waste precious time watching TV or engage in other meaningless activities.

Come check the teen program out. Teens can pay a $1 to attend or sign up to be a member for only $20 for the whole school year.

For more information call the Boys & Girls Club of Janesville at 608-755-0575

--Carrie Kulinski

Last updated: 10:38 am Wednesday, August 28, 2013

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