by Carmen Sognonvi, originally published at http://www.urbandojo.com/blog
But there’s no centralized place where information about after-school programs is housed, and that makes it challenging to find out which programs are available in your area.
If you want to find an after-school program for kids in your area, we recommend doing all of the things below. That should allow you to gather as comprehensive a list as possible and make an educated decision from there.
1. Ask other parents at your child’s school
Word of mouth is always a great place to start. Ask other parents at your child’s school whether they have their child enrolled in an after-school program, or whether they know of any in the area that they can recommend. Here’s a bonus tip: You’re best off talking to parents you only see in the mornings. If parents need to pick up their kids at the end of the school day, that’s a sign that they probably don’t have their child enrolled in an after-school program!
2. Ask the school office
The office at your child’s school may have a list of after-school programs in the area. However, this list may not be up-to-date or comprehensive. After you’ve talked to the office staff, you can also try asking the parent-teacher coordinator, your child’s teacher, or even the principal.
3. Do an online search
If you want the most up-to-date information on after-school programs for kids in your area, the internet is a great place to look. But it helps to be as specific as possible when you search. Here are some searches you should try:
- “after-school program in [city, state]” e.g. “after-school program in brooklyn, ny”
- “after-school program in [zip code]” e.g. “after-school program in 11230”
- “[school name] after-school program” e.g. “PS 217 after-school program”
- “after-school program in [neighborhood]” e.g. “after-school program in ditmas park”
4. Search the archives of your local blog
Hyper-local journalism is on the rise these days, and that means that there likely exists a blog about your neighborhood or town! For example, Urban Martial Arts is located in the Ditmas Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, and our local blog is the Ditmas Park Corner. The great thing about these hyper-local blogs is that they have detailed information about businesses and services in your immediate area. If your local blog has a search box, try typing in “after-school program” and see if they’ve written about any programs in your community. If you don’t find anything in the archives, it’s worth emailing the editor of the blog to ask if they have any recommendations. They may even be prompted to research and write a blog post about this, knowing people are searching for this information!
5. Ask on your local email listserv
As popular as social media is nowadays, email still plays an important role for many people. Just as your neighborhood may have a local blog, you may also have a local email listserv. That’s essentially an electronic mailing list (often hosted by Yahoo! Groups or Google Groups) where people subscribe to receive updates and can send emails to the group. For example, the local listserv in Urban Martial Arts’ neighborhood is the Flatbush Family Network. After you join, you can either search the archives of the listserv for mentions of local after-school programs, or send an email to the group asking for recommendations.
Photo Credit: Glenwood-Lynwood Public Library District on Flickr
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