After School All Stars Provides Range of Opportunities for Kids
After-School All-Stars' Dax-Devlon Ross shares how the program provides a wide range of services including academic support, sports, health education, and the opportunity for youngsters to meet mentors.
"Welcome back to Life & Living. He's helping turn after school students into all stars. He's Dax-Devlon Ross, Regional Executive Director of the After-School All-Stars Northeast Chapters. Welcome to the program. Thank you for having me today. What is this program? What does it do? I guess the question more is what we don't do. We work with young people, specifically in what are considered Title I schools, and Title I schools across the United States are schools that serve at least 40% of the students who receive free or reduced lunch, which is the federal government's measure for low income status in the country. But we provide after school services, Summer school services. We partner with the schools that we work within to do everything from creative exploration to sports and healthy nutrition, to civic engagement, to STEM, which is science, technology, engineering, and math. Opportunities, really it's a way to connect young people who might not otherwise have opportunities to explore their passions and things that might trigger some thoughts about what they want to do with their lives in the future. Specifically for this demographic that you're serving, why are those after school hours so critical? Well, I mean, we can start with working parents. I mean if we want to have a society in which families can provide a living and, you know, and a living, and make sure that their young people have some place to be that's safe so that they can flourish. Obviously that's one reason. Of course we also know that the three to six hours are times in which crime often spikes, particularly we're looking at the age group that we serve, which is middle school, and a time in a young person's life when they begin to make some independent choices. And where their peer groups and who they decide to spend time with and be around is gonna often be determinative of what happens for them in high school and beyond. And so here in New Jersey, you're located in Newark, Paterson, potentially opening one on Camden, you said it's a done deal? You're still working on it? [laughter] I'm speaking with a lot of confidence right now. Yes. I mean I think whenever you're opening up a new chapter, you want to do your due diligence. Yes. So I want to find out, first of all, is there a need? You want to make sure that you enter every city that you enter with the right intention, and with the right relationships and having had the right conversation, so that's where we are right now. But just to touch on your point, these students are coming from urban areas? So those three to six hours, that is the time when...."