NAZA is a nationally-recognized system of free, high-quality afterschool programs that provide academic support and new creative outlets for Metro Nashville middle school students.
Launched in 2010 by former Mayor Karl Dean, NAZA is the result of a citywide task force set out to deal with Nashville’s “three-to-six” crisis, a period of unsupervised time that, according to national reports, encourages kids to engage in crime, become victims of crime, or try risky behaviors. NAZA was created to help prevent at-risk middle school students from veering off the path to high school graduation, college and future success.
Today, NAZA’s system of coordinated providers gives kids in grades 5-8 somewhere to go from 3 to 6 o’clock, including, at no cost to families, free transportation to and from sites. At NAZA sites, kids do homework and take classes – everything from bike repair and fashion design to art and robotics – and are provided encouragement, a sense of accomplishment and access to new and exciting opportunities.
NAZA students demonstrate better school attendance. They earn better scores in math and science, and they get into less trouble. And, since moving from the Mayor’s Office to Nashville Public Library in 2014, NAZA has helped students boost their reading scores, too.