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Monday, January 25, 2021

AfterSchool HQ bridges the gap between program providers and Indiana families

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Today’s students are in need of structure and opportunities for growth as they navigate this unprecedented climate of uncertainty. Not only are K-12 students being affected by the constant changes, parents and educators are forced to wear many hats while tirelessly supporting their students and maintaining unusual schedules.

AfterSchool HQ (AHQ) believes that K-12 program providers are the answer and wants to connect more providers with Indiana students. Although AHQ has made great strides in providing qualified programs to students, Indiana ranks 5th in after-school program participation.

There is a stigma that after-school programs are only offered after school during the 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. time frame, or that they aren’t being offered at all during this time. In reality, providers are offering instruction on the weekend, evenings and even during school hours to support working parents. Providers are adhering to precautions and hosting classes online as well as in person while practicing social distancing.

Programs have also evolved in regards to the scope of offerings. Contemporary after-school programs cover every interest — from coding to gardening to entrepreneurship — providing unique opportunities that encourage curiosity and purpose.

After-school programs have been proven to decrease after-school crime rates and improve behavior both in and out of school. But the impact reaches beyond those facts.

“Yes, parents absolutely want their kids to be safe and to stay out of trouble. They want them to be good at math and science too. But students can’t be math or science, but they can be engineers and biologists. We believe students discover their future careers when participating in extracurricular activities,” said Darye Henry, AHQ co-founder.

The need and the demand for these programs is clear. According to the Afterschool Alliance, 123,163 K-12 Indiana students are enrolled in after-school programs and 308,914 students are on waiting lists for available programs. They also noted that for every enrolled Indiana student, three more would participate if a program were available.

AfterSchool HQ’s goal is to seamlessly connect these parents and students with qualified providers. They are confident that with marketing and administrative support, providers and school administrators will be better equipped to support the demand.

“Overall our platform enables higher access and participation in enrichment programs, which results in more students impacted, more lives changed, and more students finding their calling and passion in life. We do this by offering promotion, management, communication and data to providers,” said Darye.

Samantha Weinbrecht, Family and Community coordinator at Center for Inquiry 70, a member of the Indianapolis Public School system, explains how AHQ benefitted her program offerings.

“AfterSchool HQ has saved me time, I’m spending less effort managing flyers and permission slips,” said Weinbrech. “It has also helped make sure that parents can see all the opportunities available, and helps CFI 70 stand out to prospective parents as well.”

While working with Indianapolis Public Schools, AHQ was able to increase program participation by over 100%. Additional partnerships are in the works including the Marion County Commission on Youth (MCCOY) where hundreds of providers will have the opportunity to advertise their programs.

The interest in an “Eventbrite for after-school activities” has been expressed nationally. “We’re getting inquiries from New York and other parts of the country where people are telling us they really need AfterSchool HQ in their communities,” San Pathak, AHQ COO noted in a recent TechPoint interview. Providing programs locally and in the Midwest are AHQ’s priority but there are plans to expand that reach to meet the demand eventually.

Indiana providers are encouraged to ramp up programming and join AHQ in closing the after-school program gap. Visit www.afterschoolhq.com/providers to learn more.

After School HQ, founded by Darye Henry and San Pathak, connects students with after-school experiences so that they may walk in their purpose. For more information regarding AHQ’s mission and goals, please contact Darye Henry at darye@afterschoolhq.com.

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