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African-American Male Students in Community-Centered After-School Programs"Literature Review" Chapter

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African-American Male Students in Community-Centered After-School Programs

It is said that the teenage years are the most critical when it comes to determining how a person enters adulthood and who they will be as adults. African-American males are of teens that are left out and therefore do not get the whole experience on how to face challenges and life that awaits upon reaching adulthood. This work is to look at the behavior of African-American male youths and how that behavior can shape after school programs that can make their future brighter.

Teenage years of an individual are the most critical and substantial years that determines how the person would be in their adulthood. Therefore, in terms of growth and development of a child, these years should be considered with gravity, as this is the age where the adolescence is prepared for acquiring numerous skills and develops a sense of self-determination. This has become a big challenge for the parents, caregivers, educators, and mentors in this age of twenty first century, as it functions as a highly competitive society (NCES, 2010).

Unfortunately, African-American males are one of those left out young adults who are not being prepared to endure tomorrow's challenges in comparison to their white male peers. Instead, the statistical records in this regard have presented numerous evidences that the African-American males are more entering into the categories of drop-out rates in high schools, violent criminals, imprisonment, and victims of brutal acts (NCES, 2010).

The records of Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP, 2011) demonstrate the fact that African-American males to a great extent (nearly forty percent) have been involved in juvenile offenses that occurred between 2005 and 2010. In addition to it, more or less forty percent of the African-American juveniles in United States have been incarcerated, and many of the deaths of these young men have resulted from isolated murders in the latter years of the decade of 2000 (Centers for Diseases Control (CDC, 2012).

These records have highlighted the reality of out of school time (is usually referred to the hours that starts after regular school hours), which has been the prime reason that inclines the African-American males to such undesirable behaviors (Brock, 2009). In fact, African-American young children lacking in parental monitoring and most having the nonexistence of positive male mentorship in association with the apathetic approach to school immensely contributes to the collapse of African-American male identity (Baker, 2005; Lamb, 2010; Monroe, 2006).

In this regard, wide range of past researches have also explicated the fact that school education is not enough in this competitive age, as the students' success is persuaded by a multitude of factors that exists outside school (Fashola, 2002). These factors usually include the well-being of the family (in terms of social, emotional, and financial), student's neighborhood, participation of children in various youth developmental programs, supportive and healthy relationships with their adults, and physical and emotional stability (Brock, 2009; Fashola, 2005; Monroe, 2006).

Child development institution has been a longstanding trend; however, the widespread attention to after-school programs has indeed renewed the interest of many people towards this arena. Community based after-school programs have been identified as one of the integral phenomenon that constructively shapes and outlines the behaviors and attitudes of young children, especially who have gone to the wrong track (Brock, 2009; Fashola, 2002). Due to this reason, increasing attention on the after-school hours of children especially aged 6-14 have been brought by the policy makers, media, child development professionals, and parents over the last few years of the decade (Brock, 2009; Fashola, 2005).

The prime goal of the research is to develop an understanding about the behaviors of African-American male communities and how their attitudes can be shaped with the help of after-school community-based programs that can determine the bright future of Black children growing up in America today. Therefore, the following few themes will be widely discussed.

Background of After-School Programs

The historical events and incidences reveal the fact that after-school programs in the United States have a long history, as it originally emerged in the last quarter of the nineteenth century with the prime intention to serve nurseries and charity schools (Brown, Corrigan & Higgins-D'Alessandro, 2012). The concept came to existence with two fundamental trends: the first indicated that boom of urban economy became the reason of decline in child paid labor, and the other signified the development of schooling that led to new education laws made compulsory. However, the abatement of paid labor became the leading reason of high participation rates in the school. This increase in the percentage of students attending the schools became tremendously high over the years (Brown, Corrigan & Higgins-D'Alessandro, 2012; Halpern, 2002).

Even though the fact cannot be neglected that school participation rates was terrifically increased, conversely it brought various new challenges, as out-of-school time for most of the children was created as an outcome, which eventually attracted the young children to streets and streets life. The children were magnetized to the richness of street life because it not only provided them with various ways to earn few amounts but also made ways through which they can stay away from their families (their responsibilities, family restrictions or conflicts) (Brown, Corrigan & Higgins-D'Alessandro, 2012; Halpern, 2002). As an outcome of it, street traffic augmented which made the children vulnerable to injury and deaths.

These severe issues then emerged the field of after-school programs that can serve as a critical element to the learning process and overall lives of the children. Indeed, individual men and women developed this concept with the fundamental aim to liberate and save their children from being at a risk to the physical and moral dangers created by living and becoming an adult in the immigrant neighborhoods of major cities (Halpern, 2003).

The trend of after-school programs has not been constant, as it reduced and developed with the necessity of the time. Initially, the after-school programs focused on providing the children supervision and recreational activities (Brown, Corrigan & Higgins-D'Alessandro, 2012; Halpern, 2002; Halpern, 2003). During the World War II, the after-school programs were much in demand and practiced widely over the country, as they were immensely financed by the governments. This was particularly due to the reason that most of the females (mothers) were pushed into the workforce into factories as an outcome of the war (Brown, Corrigan & Higgins-D'Alessandro, 2012; Halpern, 2002). However, as the World War II came to an end, the governments sharply alleviated its financial support and sponsorships from the after-school programs (Halpern, 2002; Halpern, 2003).

Over the years, legislations were passed to facilitate the local communities when the government witnessed the elevating need of nurturing the after-school learning for students (Scott-Little, Hamann, & Jurs, 2002). These legislations attributed to various positive outcomes that include increased attendance, higher scores in standardized tests, and so on. Unfortunately, it also brought some negatives with it that take account of financial limitations and high stakes testing (Baker, Rieg & Clendaniel, 2006). Financial constraints apparently bring the fact to the surface that local municipalities were deficient of sufficient finances or sponsorships due to which employing high quality teachers or coaches became a much difficult task, as very few coaches were there to work free of cost (Cavanagh, 2011).

The second negative aspect regarded after-school programs as ineffective. This demonstrated the fact that school administrations highlighted the standardized test preparation as more important in comparison to after-school programs that are based on extracurricular activities and are a synthesis of recreation, informal education, indoor programs, athletics, and social skills (Cavanagh, 2011; Pastchal-Temple, 2012). Nevertheless, after-school programs have gained popularity as one of the versatile approach to mentor and educate children in the present time, and hence, have become institutionalized.

The historical account has noticeably exposed the fact that the arena of after-school has a rich and remarkable tradition of serving the children with special skills, yet it has made great efforts to sustain its true meaning and purpose. Protection, care, opportunity for fortification, and play are the terms that purely justify the definition of after-school programs (Cavanagh, 2011; Pastchal-Temple, 2012). At the other end, after-school programs can also be defined as the process of socialization, acclimatization to culture, training, and problem resolution (Halpern, 2003).

It is miserable to bring the fact to the surface that African-American young children are one of the groups who have not benefited by the after-school programs. This discrimination usually occurred with the African-American children due to the reason that officials feared that racial integration would become the chief reason of pulling out the white ethnic children by their families from such programs (Jackson, 2001). As an outcome of it, the settlements determined reasons and ways to keep the African-American young children away from such programs (Cavanagh, 2011; Pastchal-Temple, 2012). However, this trend slightly began to change when the development of African-American children was considered by the settlement leaders, and they made efforts to support them (Jackson, 2001; Pastchal-Temple, 2012).

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