Sioux Falls Thrive ─ a cradle to career initiative aimed at eliminating obstacles to student success ─ is accepting applications from community members who want to ignite new strategies for kids when they’re not in the classroom.

“In Sioux Falls, 84% of our children live in homes where all parents are part of the workforce,” says Candy Hanson, president of Thrive. “Finding safe, affordable, enriching places for kids to be when they’re not in school is a real challenge. Plus, the time working parents spend keeping tabs on their children and juggling work schedules and transportation has a direct impact on their employers.”

The focus for Thrive’s Out-of-School Action Team extends beyond traditional after-school care. It includes what kids are doing before and after school, on snow days and holidays, and over summer vacation. The team will base its work on findings from “Student Safety and Out-of-School Time” conducted for Thrive by Augustana Research Institute, https://siouxfallsthrive.org/student-safety-focus-latest-thrive-study/.

That research indicates that there’s a balance between the supply and demand for after-school care for elementary school students, but cost, hours of operation, and location of services are problematic. At middle- and high school-levels, finding enrichment programs becomes more difficult, despite the number of service provides attempting to meet working families’ needs.

“It’s another case where Sioux Falls is program rich and system poor,” says Hanson. “A fundamental goal of all of Thrive’s action teams is to untangle existing resources and create stems that benefit kids and the service providers.”

Thrive’s Out-of-School Action Team will include volunteers who

  • are community volunteers or represent a cross-sector of the business, government, nonprofit and faith-based communities.
  • can make a commitment to participate regularly in team activities — a minimum of two hours/month over the next two years.

Applications for the Out-of-School Action Team must be submitted using the form posted at www.siouxfallsthrive.org no later than midnight July 16.

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