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New issue brief showcasing afterschool promoting civic engagement

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New issue brief showcasing afterschool promoting civic engagement

Earlier this week on my way into work, a father and his daughter, who couldn’t have been older than an elementary schooler, were at the bottom of the metro escalator greeting metro riders with a huge sign that read “VOTE!” That sight brought a huge smile to my face; it was inspiring to see someone so young encouraging others to be civically engaged. The sign didn’t advocate for any particular candidate, but to take part in the democratic process, and at a time when civic engagement levels are low—not only voting turnout, but volunteerism rates as well—it was heartening to see that act of involvement. Civic engagement, particularly at a younger age, is vital, and it is why the Afterschool Alliance and the Center for Global Education at Asia Society partnered to create the issue brief, Promoting Civic Engagement Through Afterschool Programs.

The brief shines a light on the interactive and immersive ways afterschool and summer learning programs are encouraging youth to be knowledgeable, engaged, and civically-minded individuals. In afterschool and summer learning programs, civic engagement takes many forms. At YWCA New Britain’s House of Teens program, girls capture barriers to health in their neighborhood through a digital photo project, developing solutions and presenting their proposals to audiences that have included policymakers and community members. Youth in Equity Alliance MN’s Youth Executive Board (YEB) reflect on and discuss topics, such as implicit bias and the history of the civil rights movement, and student initiatives have included speaking to their school dean about proposed changes to the school’s discipline policies. Other programs spotlighted in the brief are Alternatives, Inc., in Hampton, Va.; After-School All-Stars Hawaii; and Washington state’s YMCA of Port Angeles’ Youth and Government program.

Through interviews with a handful of programs across the country who are lifting up youth voice and fostering civic engagement, we were able to hear the passion, dedication, and pride of program staff who see the young people in their programs increase their sense of personal and civic responsibility, gain confidence in their abilities, and view themselves as change agents. Research has found that youth who are civically engaged are more likely to remain civically engaged as adults. With 3 in 4 superintendents agreeing that preparing students for engaged citizenship is a challenge for their district, afterschool and summer learning programs are a necessary partner in efforts promoting youth civic engagement.  

Read the full issue brief to find out more about civics education best practices, discover innovative approaches to civic engagement being taken in the afterschool field, and find inspiration to exercise your right to vote on Tuesday, Nov. 6! 

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BY: Nikki Yamashiro      11/04/21

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BY: Bella DiMarco      07/20/21

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In March, the National Institute for Work and Learning, FHI 360, published a report sponsored by The Wallace Foundation focusing on the coordination of afterschool programming among out-of-school-time providers, government agencies, private funders, and others. Following up on a 2012-2013 survey,...

BY: Erin Hegarty      07/15/21

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BY: Bella DiMarco      03/18/21

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BY: Tierra Easter      08/06/21

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We all know that this summer and fall are critical as we try to reconnect and re-engage young people around the country in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that summer – and summer learning programs – are in full swing, we figured it was a good time to revisit some of the crucial...

BY: Dan Gilbert      08/05/21

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BY: Bella DiMarco      07/20/21

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BY: Nikki Yamashiro      07/02/21

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BY: Bella DiMarco      05/13/21

Afterschool Spotlights: 21st CCLC from Alabama to Alaska

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BY: Bella DiMarco      04/20/21

Why are so many kids missing out on afterschool?

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BY: Guest Blogger      03/09/21

A chance to help the afterschool field AND a chance at a $50 gift card!

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BY: Nikki Yamashiro      03/04/21

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BY: Ursula Helminski      01/05/21

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BY: Ursula Helminski      12/16/20

New Data on Afterschool: Demand grows, opportunity shrinks

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BY: Charlotte Steinecke      12/08/20

4 key takeaways from program providers' summer planning

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BY: Bella DiMarco      08/27/20

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BY: Nikki Yamashiro      07/30/20