America’s Promise Alliance and BOOST at United Way of Greenville County in South Carolina recently hosted a GradNation Community Summit to showcase the importance of afterschool programs. Davis Kirby was a youth panelist at the summit.
Expanded learning opportunities can be priceless. They were for me.
Whether it’s an afterschool program or a summer program, these programs help children excel academically, stay away from trouble, and get exposed to valuable enrichment opportunities they might otherwise miss.
For me, expanded learning opportunities started in elementary school. A new afterschool program named the Frazee Center, and I signed up to go there after school. At Frazee, which focuses on helping under-resourced children in the Greenville area, I learned the importance of doing homework, reading and studying on a consistent basis.
The Frazee Center Helped Me Stay Out of Trouble
Frazee allowed me to excel academically, while giving me a safe haven after school. It also established continuity in my life. Just knowing that I was going to Frazee immediately after school helped keep me out of trouble. Many kids behave poorly because they don’t do anything to occupy themselves, so they get into something. With me attending Frazee daily, I was able to stay busy and out of trouble.
While Frazee helped me perform well academically and stay out of trouble, another program exposed me to opportunity. Bridges to a Brighter Future, which focuses on transforming the lives of students “whose potential outdistances their circumstances,” is a selective, year-round program that takes place on Furman University’s campus.
Bridges to a Brighter Future Helped Me Step Out of My Comfort Zone
I was introduced to Bridges during my freshman year in high school. A teacher nominated me for the program, and luckily, I was selected to be a participant. Bridges has allowed me to visit over 20 colleges, including some I’ve applied to this year.
Bridges has also allowed me to grow as a person. Now I’m willing to step out of my comfort zone and experience things I never would’ve tried before. Before Bridges, I wouldn’t dare participate in any sort of public speaking, nor would I be willing to challenge myself as much as I do now.
Expanded learning opportunities such as Frazee and Bridges have shaped me into the person I am today. These programs have helped me excel academically, grow as a person and tackle new challenges in life. I can truly say that If it weren’t for these programs, I wouldn’t be a senior in high school heading to college next year.
Davis D. Kirby is a senior at Greenville High School.