The Indiana Afterschool Network has received a major boost. Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. has awarded a more than $700,000 grant to the organization in an effort to strengthen afterschool and summer programs throughout the state.
The IAN says the funding, totaling $723,600, will allow the nonprofit organization to launch new initiatives that will link youth programs with schools, reach more communities and expand professional development, tools and resources for youth programs. IAN President Debbie Zipes says the size of the grant is "transformative for Indiana and enables us to greatly accelerate the reach and impact of out-of-school time learning."
Todd Bess, executive director of the Indiana Association of School Principals, says afterschool programs can be a game changer for the state. “Students spend only 30% of their waking hours in school, and how they invest the other 70% changes lives,” she said. “Students with real-world, hands-on learning experiences build workforce and college skills and get an important leg up for the future.”
The IAN says afterschool and summer programs not only keep children safe during the highest crime hours of 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. on weekdays, but also help bridge the achievement gaps among low-income and more affluent students.