According to a report done by the Afterschool Alliance each year’s class of high school dropouts will cost the country more than $200 billion in lost earnings and unrealized tax revenue over the course of their lives. These high school dropouts earn 24 percent less money during their lifetimes than high school graduates do. One of the leading causes of dropping out of high school, teen motherhood, costs an estimated $8 billion annually due to greater welfare expenditures and lost tax revenue.

It’s not just the taxpayers subsidizing the costs incurred as a result of students’ struggles such as remedial education, absenteeism, grade repetition, dropping out, drug use, and teen pregnancy. Afterschool Alliance reports that American businesses spend a collective $60 billion each year on training, much of which is remedial reading, writing, and math.

Other issues come into play here as well. Obesity rates have increased, and youth from low-income communities are at an even higher risk. In fact, Afterschool Alliance reports that annual obesity-attributable medical expenditures in the U.S. were estimated to be $75 billion, half of which were financed by Medicare and Medicaid. They also report CDC statistics stating that 61.5 percent of children ages 9-13 do not participate in any organized physical activity outside of school hours, and that 22.6 percent do not engage in any type of physical activity during free time.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Utah County provide afterschool programs focused on helping young people—especially those most in need of these programs—succeed academically, develop and maintain healthy lifestyles, and become productive and engaged citizens. Utilizing evidence-based programs, we measure the impact our work has on the youth we serve, and the results are good! These programs work, and verify an important claim that the Afterschool Alliance makes.

“Afterschool programs address these risky and expensive (for society) behaviors in two ways. First, afterschool programs simply keep youth busy during the hours they are most likely to get into trouble. Second, afterschool programs provide young people with access to caring adults who provide the support they need to succeed, whether it’s homework help or learning how to say no to drugs. As a result, children and youth who regularly attend quality afterschool programs have better grades and conduct in school, are more likely to graduate, and have lower incidences of drug-use, violence, and pregnancy.”

Through programs that address preventative behaviors when it comes to issues like drugs and abstinence, the Boys & Girls Club movement sponsors a number of programs geared toward proactive approaches towards positive lifestyles. Even something as simple as providing a healthy snack every day for our club members helps them get healthy eating habits. With daily homework help, physical activity, and other programs, we are able to help these young people towards positive living.

In a report done by Fight Crime: Invest in Kids they claim that “for each high-risk youth prevented from adopting a life of crime, experts estimate the country saves between $1.7 and $2.3 million.”

Consider some of these costs for a moment. According to a report done by the Justice Policy Institute, juvenile residential facilities (such as the Slate Canyon Youth Center in Provo) in Utah cost $195 per day. Over the course of a year that costs $71,175 not including costs for police and probation officers, lawyers, judges, or social workers.

Contrast that cost of one year of juvenile incarceration against the cost of eight semesters at universities throughout the state.

  Estimated Cost of 8 Semesters
Brigham Young University $20,000
Dixie State University $17,164
Southern Utah University $24,552
University of Utah $31,820
Utah State University $21,815
Utah Valley University $19,144
Weber State University $20,733

The amount spent on one year of incarceration could pay for at least three students’ Bachelor’s Degrees at almost all of these schools.

On the other hand, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Utah County can make a huge difference, and does so for a lot less money.

Annual cost per child in Boys & Girls Clubs of Utah County Programs
Afterschool (based on Provo Clubhouse cost) $150
In-school STEM Partnerships $45
NetSmartz $1.25

In the past year, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Utah County have served 9,000 young people. Our work works, and we are helping them towards bright possibilities for their lives. Great futures start here, with a small investment that not only saves money; it helps the youth of Utah County to attain success. With programs that help these young people to do well in school, understand and maintain healthy lifestyles, and become invested citizens in the community, the Boys & Girls Clubs impact lives in highly positive ways.

We invite you to invest in the future of our youth by donating to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Utah County, because great futures start here.