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Make the Most of Your Child’s Free Time

Children spend 80 percent of their time outside of school. Research shows that what children do during this time has as much of an impact on their success as what they do during the school day. Afterschool programs create opportunities for children to thrive by providing valuable learning experiences that support their academic, social and emotional well-being and development. 

When selecting the best afterschool program for your child there are many things to take into consideration and we’re here to help! In this section you will find: 

Afterschool programs make a difference by…

Keeping your child safe

Violent juvenile crimes triple between the hours of 3:00 pm and 8:00 pm and it is during this time that children are the most at risk of either committing or becoming the victim of a crime. Afterschool programs support youth by providing a safe, productive place for them to spend the time they are not in school. Afterschool programs can also help reduce the likelihood of youth engaging in risky behavior such as smoking and drug use and are effective in reducing violence, theft, vandalism, gang activity and other adolescent crimes.Issue Brief No. 27

Inspiring your child to learn and stay engaged in school
Every child learns differently. By providing students with enrichment activities and options such as sports, art, music, cultural experiences and other alternative ways of learning, afterschool programs improve children’s social skills, give them more confidence, create higher educational and career aspirations and motivate them to consistently attend school. Quality afterschool programs have been proven to help kids excel, prevent school drop-out and prepare them for the future. Issue Brief No. 31

Supporting working families
Afterschool programs give parents the freedom to work and provide peace of mind in knowing that their children are in a safe and productive place while they are at work. Parents miss an average of eight days of work per year due to a lack of afterschool care and afterschool programs provide options and solutions that benefit the whole family. Issue Brief No. 16

Helping your child stay healthy
Afterschool programs play a role in promoting healthy lifestyles for children and there are a variety of afterschool programs available to Denver youth that encourage health and fitness in fun ways. A study of afterschool programs shows that obesity is significantly lower among program participants at 21 percent compared to 33 percent for non-participants. Issue Brief No. 24   (Source: J., Lord, H., & Carryl, E., Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2005) 

Preparing your child for tomorrow’s workforce
Afterschool programs are a powerful way to help children develop skills for the 21st century workplace. Afterschool programs provide benefits to older youth that reach well beyond the school day, offering avenues to college and the workplace by exposing youth to global issues, providing opportunities to develop and use technology, and promoting cross-cultural understanding, collaborative thinking, leadership and civic participation.  Issue Brief No. 36 (Source: Asia Society. Partnership for Global Learning (2009). Expanding Horizons: Building Global Literacy in Afterschool Programs.) 

Find the best afterschool program for your child
We know that finding a quality afterschool program that meets your child’s needs hasn’t always been easy. We’ve developed a citywide, searchable database that connects you to afterschool programs in your area. This interactive, map-based website allows you to look for programs using a variety of criteria including location, age and program focus. The program locator includes over 600 program locations that are available during the time that your child is out of school including: before and afterschool, summer and holiday breaks.

What to look for in an afterschool program
Afterschool programs play a significant role in supporting your child’s development. Rather than simply enrolling your child in a program, try to ensure that the program is high quality. To help find a program that is right for your child, ask lf it matches your child’s interests and includes these critical quality elements: 

  • Has qualified and prepared staff
  • Pays attention to children’s safety, health, and nutrition
  • Maintains a low staff-to-child ratio
  • Offers a supportive emotional climate
  • Provides enriching learning opportunities
  • Links with school-day learning content
  • Promotes strong parent, family, youth, and community partnerships

Looking for other youth opportunities?

Youth Mentoring Collaborative (YMC) consists of organizations that offer mentoring programs to children in Denver. To learn more about how mentoring opportunities can provide a reliable, safe way for your child to develop a significant relationship with a caring adult, visit Youth Mentoring Collaborative.

Child Care
Mile High United Way 2-1-1 is an easy to remember telephone number that connects callers to information about critical health and human services. It also provides consumer education in selecting childcare and a list of referrals to licensed child care providers. 
To search for childcare in the Denver metro area you can dial 2-1-1 or 303.561.2244, email  To search for childcare on-line, visit Qualistar Colorado.

Decades of research and evaluation studies confirm that children and youth who participate in afterschool and summer programs can reap a host of positive benefits that impact their development and provide them with the skills that they need to succeed in the 21st Century.  This section includes national research that shows the benefits of afterschool programs.

  • Keeping Kids and Communities Safe (PDF)
    Data on the impact of afterschool programs in decreasing youth crime, and increasing youth safety, making communities as a whole safer for you and your family.
  • Afterschool Fosters School Success (PDF)
    Data that demonstrates how afterschool programs support your child’s success both in and outside of the classroom by focusing on their social and emotional development and preventing them from engaging in risky behaviors, as well as supporting academic achievement. 
  • Afterschool Programs Help Working Families  (PDF)
    Research on the role that afterschool programs play in providing a safe, enriching environment for your child while you are work, allowing you to focus on work and ultimately improve the life of your family.
  • Childhood Obesity Prevention & Afterschool Programs  (PDF)
    Facts behind the role that afterschool plays in keeping your child active and healthy to combat childhood obesity.  
  • Afterschool and Workforce Development – Helping Kids Compete 
    Research on how afterschool programs can help your child develop the necessary skills needed for the 21st Century workplace.

Share Your Story

Has an afterschool or summer program improved the life of your child? We want to hear about it.

For Parents
Staff Contact Information

Denver Afterschool Alliance
Maxine Quintana