We’ve all heard the saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And while the idea is hardly new, it’s certainly gaining new attention as America looks to reform its healthcare, education and criminal justice systems.   Here at the Y, we’ve been at the forefront of prevention for decades. In fact, our organization is leading the way in preventing – and reversing – many complex problems that affect individual lives and the well-being of our entire community.   For instance, more than 5,400 kids per day, including 43% from low-income families, are participating in Y-quality afterschool programs that are helping them close the educational achievement gap.   Operated in 40-plus Orange County elementary and middle schools, these programs provide a safe, nurturing environment for kids, as well as a stress-relieving solution for busy working parents.   Through homework help, tutoring and an hour of physical activity, kids also receive the extra time and attention they need to improve their reading, values, health and wellness.       In terms of “big picture” benefits, a recent study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that dollars invested in enrichment programs for low-income children resulted in a 7% to 10% gain in terms of kids’ lifelong success, health and contributions to the workforce.           Another report from the Council on Crime and Justice goes so far as to say that “investments in high-quality early education appear to reduce future crime and are more cost effective than additional spending on police or incarceration.”   So the evidence is in. Prevention works. And the Y is leading the way. With our 2013 Scholarship Campaign underway, we think you’ll agree that the Y is a smart, compassionate way to invest in kids − and the future of our entire community. To donate today, click here.