Michael Funk, the founder and executive director of the Sunset Neighborhood Beacon Center, runs daily after-school programs for more than 700 students at five San Francisco schools. The center was recently named one of 20 finalists for the national MetLife Foundation Afterschool Innovator Award.
Why is it important for kids to be involved in after-school programs? When young people are engaged and have found something that’s meaningful to them and has relevance in their lives, all of the floodgates of learning just kind of open up.
Why is this award significant? I think after-school programs have been evolving over the last decade as a significant place of learning and an important component of the whole mix of education reform.
What are some of your most popular programs? They’re all full and they all have waiting lists. We have a moviemaking club where kids learn to make film and kind of tell their stories digitally. I’d say probably the program with the most promise over the last few years has been the urban music club, where kids learn everything from basic DJ techniques on the turntable to using Pro Tools and doing sound engineering.