Inspiring Children to Become Activists: IBA's Afterschool and Summer Learning Program

Inspiring Children to Become Activists: IBA's Afterschool and Summer Learning Program

IBA’s Afterschool and Summer Learning Program is an integrated academic and arts program that help students develop language skills and self-esteem, and equips them for academic success. The focus on both academics and arts allows for the freedom to follow their own interests, while also enhancing what they’re learning in school.

Our program focuses on a different theme every year, with this year’s 1st and 2nd graders exploring themes of strength, courage, and leadership. The students will research, write, and illustrate an original piece that tells their stories, and the stories of others in their community. Throughout the program, there are multiple points for parents to get involved with their child’s education. By including parents, they can see how much their child has learned, as well as celebrate the work they’ve done.

Over the course of 30 weeks, the students will participate in 3 units, each one focusing on English Language Development areas of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. While they start learning basic elements of storytelling, they will also develop critical thinking skills, and eventually write their own stories, to be shared on Family Visit Days. The final celebration will showcase their full original pieces—complete with student writing, spoken word, and compositions—and their artwork hanging for families to see

One child has participated in three afterschool cycles and 3 summer learning cycles; his mom, Laura, shared why she wanted him in our program:

“My son, Angel, has been attending IBA’s After School and Summer Learning Program for the past two years. Like most programs, it provides a balance between academic work and free time but it stands out for inspiring children to become activists within their school communities... Since Angel has learning difference, this level of support helped to strengthened Angel’s confidence and equipped him for academic success in the classroom.”

Several parents shared similar thoughts, saying the sense of belonging and inclusion were part of what they loved most about IBA’s Afterschool program. As Laura Sierra said,

“I am beyond grateful for IBA’s involvement in my child’s life. I credit the program for helping him grow in confidence and for inspiring him to become a positive member of his community.”

By engaging students through multiple learning models, offering reading mentorship, arts and homework support, and other community activities, our Afterschool program connects with both parent and student. Parent engagement is a priority and includes a culturally competent approach and various events that showcase students’ work and celebrate their successes. One parent said this was their favorite aspect of the Afterschool program as well as “project themes, [and the] emphasis on community and ways to contribute in a positive way.”