Seven Benefits of Extracurriculars — By Eugenia Nathan


EugeniaNathanI am the product of extracurriculars, lots of love and support. Essentially, that is what the Day Dreams Foundation is all about. Through fundraising, generous donations, and passion for the good that comes from a child participating in an after-school activity, the foundation is able to eliminate financial barriers that keep Columbia children from taking part in activities that shape who they are.

A little about me. Growing, up I was fortunate enough to have parents with endless patience. I am one of 3 girls. My older sister was pretty athletic. After playing on a city recreational soccer league, she quickly found her niche. She learned about working as a team, respecting adults and rules, how to form friendships, and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle; she applied these life lesson in other facets of her life and still does today.  It wasn’t so quick and easy for me. I tried ballet, tap, jazz, t-ball, piano, basketball, soccer, track and volleyball before I found writing. The school Newspaper became my thing- I was extremely fascinated with all things words. I learned how to write something more useful than a 5 paragraph essay and how great it was to meet new people and tell their stories. Here’s the kicker! Even though I bounced around from activity to activity, I learned something important while trying several after-school activities. Lessons about honesty, friendship, humility, and perseverance followed me even as I moved onto writing.

When you stop and ask why it is important for a community to rally around making extracurriculars accessible to their children the answer is simple: it makes better, happier children.

Think about a child you know. Now think about how each of these benefits will impact that child.

Benefit #1: Forming Relationship Skills

Put a bunch of kids on one team, give them a goal, and they somehow learn to get along with each other, work through conflict, and learn how to appropriately act in social situations.

Benefit #2: Kids learn ‘there is no I in team’

Extracurricular involvement gives kids the opportunity to walk away from the idea of only thinking of themselves, but rather contributing to something else.

Benefit #3: Getting involved in diverse interests

It is important for kids to find something that they can make their own. This fosters ownership and helps kids form their unique personality. Diverse activities allow kids to explore various interests they might have. Day Dreams Kids are also required to complete service hours for each month they are on scholarship, further expanding their interests.

Benefit #4: Bumping Self-Esteem

Everyone wants to find something they can excel in. Extracurriculars give kids a way to get involved in something that they can shine in, giving them a self-esteem boost.

Benefit #5: Learning Time Management

Juggling activities and commitments are something our children will one day have to deal with. After-school activities are great practice for this important life skill in prioritizing.

Benefit #6: Encouraging academic success

This may be more relevant as kids enter into middle school. Several programs require their participants to be in good academic standing. Day Dreams kids are required to have their teacher sign off that they gave their best effort in the classroom if they would like to have their scholarship renewed for another season/activity. A healthy love for learning and maintaining good grades can grow from a rooted love for extracurriculars.

Benefit #7: A smile

Memories, smiles, and laughs make for a happy child. The children in our community today will one day be our doctors, lawyers, and teachers. Let’s build the foundation for a happy and healthy future.

To learn more about how you can build this happy and healthy future, explore this website. You can learn about how we started, the kids who are fulfilling their dreams, upcoming fundraising events, how to apply for scholarships and other ways you can support the community.




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