After School Program

Every Monday through Friday at 3:15 PM, the youngest residents of Riverside’s Eastside neighborhood flood through the doors at the Community Settlement Association for the After School Program. They convene excitedly into the main classroom lined with books, computers, and a proud display of personal artwork.

From tutoring to gardening, the After School Program at the Community Settlement Association offers these young minds a safe space and an outlet to not only learn, but to build social skills that reaches far beyond their current circumstances.

“Our goal is to mentally and physically challenge our students,” said Steven Villegas, the After School Program Coordinator. “These kids are amazing. All we want to do is help them recognize the endless potential and possibilities that lie ahead of them.”

Studies have shown that programs with a strong intentional focus on improving social and personal skills improve students’ self-esteem and self-confidence.

Research has also shown that participation in after school programs have a positive impact on juvenile crime, help reduce teenage pregnancies, and boys’ marijuana use.

“I’m here every day!” exclaimed one excited fifth grader Lucio, who attends the program every Monday through Friday. “But I want to be here all the time – even on Saturdays and Sundays!”

The program offers the opportunity for children between fourth and ninth grade to not only interactively learn through challenging games and activities, but also to engage with one another on issues that matter to the community and the world.

From tutoring to crafting, the After School Program helps these impressionable minds develop practical, leadership, social, and learning skills that they will be able to use throughout their lifetimes.

“I met my best friend here… We’re not just BFF, we are B-F-F-E-E-E-E-A-E!”

declared third grader, Valeria. For those in the know, it means Best Friends Forever Ever Ever Ever Ever And Ever.