Matt is a Geography Major specializing in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). He is currently working on an internship where he will be mapping After School Programs in the region.
Matt McDonald's Journal Entries
Date: December 3rd, 2008
Over the summer I had the opportunity to work on the At- Risk youth project. Taylor Hafley and I were the official interns and we were assisted by Russ Cotner '09, Teresa Walton, and Jay Knox '09. After our fast paced week of meeting almost the entire town of Springfield, we began our work.
We decided that phase I (One) of this project would be creating a database of all the after school programs in Clark county. Once we had the database, we would do a basic analysis of the overall picture: how many programs, who are they serving, where they are located, etc... This turned out to be a lot more complicated than we imagined. It took us a week just to be able to define what we consider an After-school program! We decided that to be included in our database the program had to meet at least once a week in the school year, or at least for a full week in the summer. The program also had to serve students between kindergarten and 12th grade. A lot of debate and discussion came out of this. A great example: The Big Brothers Big Sisters is a great program but is not included in our database. The program does not have a regular meeting time. So you can see how a lot of discretion had to be used. Also in the summer most offices were closed or had limited hours to add to the challenge. But eventually we came up with a great detailed database.
In the end we found 64 programs with leads for adding 30 more. In the analysis we found that the general needs of Clark County's youth are being met through the diversity of programs, but the larger problem is accessibility to these programs. Over 65% of the programs are within a 1 mile radius of each other in downtown Springfield. Unfortunately only six of these programs are providing transportation. Going into the fall term we will have more man power and time to continue building the database. In the fall we will have more of an in depth analysis of each school district.