RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- There's a certain time of day when young people get into the most trouble. It's not in the wee hours of the night, but actually during the few hours after school.
Over the next two days, dozens of educators across the state are working together to improve and support after school programs at the Fifth Annual Showcase Nevada After School Experience Conference.
Organizations and state educators are teaming up this week to develop their after-school programs, knowing very well that young people can be steered off course in that witching hour.
marcia calloway (mar-see-ya)
director office of educational opportunity nv dept of education
"The predominant time when young people get in trouble is 3-6 p.m.," said Marcia Calloway, Direct of Educational Opportunity with the Nevada Department of Education. "That time when they walk out the school door, and there's usually no one at home to greet them."
Calloway said after school programs make a big difference in young people's lives, especially to those at-risk students. "They have extra enrichment activities, but they also have academics, and its usually done in a more creative, more engaged way."
Often times, students who struggle in a traditional setting can benefit from after school programs. That's one reason why educators and organizations are networking and developing their programs during the Showcase Nevada conference to benefit the entire state.
"Smaller communities are sometimes the ones that struggle the most," said Calloway. "That's when those partnerships are crucial."
Three young people were recognized for their volunteer efforts in after school programs, highlighting the significance of after school activities.
"Some of the boys need like, you know, a male role model," said Desert Pines senior Frank Canales. "Because some don't have father figures, or a brother figure, so that's what I'm here for. I'm trying to help them become a better person."
"It's important to me, because it helped me with orchestra," said seventh-grader Thalia Wise. "And it moved me on and it helped me want to keep going. And helped my grades."
"It helped me decide that I want to be a teacher," said Navada State College junior Sandra Miramontes. "So, that's what i'm going to school for."
One of the biggest struggles these programs face is funding, but Canales believes they are worth fighting for. "If we didn't have programs that we have today, I think kids would be in trouble, getting arrested, or even doing drugs and stuff like that. That's the main purpose of having these programs, is to keep them safe."
The two-day event is hosted by the Nevada Department of Education, UNR, and the Washoe County School District.