So you’ve decided to get your child into an after-school program and apparently, there are a lot more programs out there than you knew.
Now comes the question: Should you look into one of the free after-school programs in Brooklyn? Or should you apply for one where you pay for the service?
Of course the free after-school programs sound tempting because they’re easy on your budget. But there may be some downsides you haven’t considered.
Here are some things you probably did not know about free after-school programs:
1. There may be a long waiting list for a free after-school program
Free after-school programs are in high demand. Because of this, they usually have a long waiting list for those who qualify to join the program. In the meantime, your child has no after-school care so you’ll have to make alternative arrangements.
2. Activities are often limited within free after-school programs
Most free after-school programs offer little more than glorified babysitting and basic homework help. There may be some rudimentary activities like arts & crafts, but the programming will be very basic and the staff won’t have in-depth expertise.
3. Free programs are often shut down due to budget cuts
Free after-school programs are usually funded with a combination of government funds, non-profit grants, private donations, and subsidies through HRA vouchers or ACS vouchers. Far too often, these programs are on financially shaky foundations. Once one major source of funds gets cut, the entire after-school program shuts down and all the families it was serving are left without after-care coverage.
Paid after-school programs cost a little more, but they offer great value in return.
Here is a list of some of the ways your family will benefit from in a paid after-school program:
1. You don’t have to put your entire financial life on display
To qualify for a free after-school program, you usually have to meet stringent household income requirements. The qualification process can be intrusive, requiring you to submit things like paystubs, tax returns, and child support paperwork. Basically, you have to put your whole financial life on display. After doing all that, you still may not qualify for the free after-school program! Paid after-school programs do not require such an intrusive application. You get to keep your private information private.
2. Your child can learn a new skill in an in-depth way
Unlike many free programs which are very generalist and basic, paid programs offer specialized training in specific areas. In Urban Martial Arts’ karate after-school program, for example, the karate classes are taught by a 5th-degree black belt professional instructor.
3. Paid after-school programs are built to last
Unlike free after-school programs, which are heavily dependent on outside funding, paid programs are structured to be financially self-sufficient. The teams running these programs know how to balance a budget and maintain financial solvency. You won’t have to worry about a program being shut down because of a sudden policy change from City Hall.
In summary, there are some downsides to free after-school programs that you may not have considered. Paid after-school programs allow you to provide your child with a quality program that helps them develop skills they’ll use for the rest of their life.
Try our karate after-school program!
The Urban Martial Arts Transported Karate After-School Program includes free school pick-up, a free karate uniform, a free T-shirt, karate classes, and plenty of time for homework and snacks.
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