Youth & Parent Voices

With afterschool funding on the chopping block, it’s more important than ever to give parents and youth ways to voice their support for afterschool at your event. The kids and parents in your program know firsthand why afterschool is important and can be your best, most authentic messengers.

Tips for Involving Youth & Parents

Give kids and parents the floor at your event. Invite young people and parents to speak publicly about their views on afterschool, learning, education and other related issues. Invite your mayor, school board members or city council members to come and listen to what kids and parents have to say.

Decorate light bulb art. Our ready-to-go artwork is a colorful way to deliver a message about afterschool. If you're located near a Congressional district office, arrange for your students to deliver the artwork and meet with the Member of Congress or staff. Or, make a project out of sending a package of artwork. The Congressional office will likely respond with a letter back to your program: use that as a second learning opportunity to discuss the role of elected officials.

Sign petitions or write letters to elected officials about the importance of afterschool programs and investments.

Youth voices in the paper. Work with the local newspaper to publish op-eds by kids that focus on their views of afterschool and learning, like how, when, or where they have fun learning.

Go visit policy makers. Take youth to visit the mayor, city council members, school board members, state legislators, the governor and/or Members of Congress. Work with students ahead of time to set up the meetings and develop a list of talking points. Notify the press ahead of time so that they can cover the story of local young people being their own best advocates on learning and education.

Work with young people to request a hearing on afterschool and education in your state legislative body. Ask the education committee to hold a special hearing at which kids testify about the benefits they receive from afterschool programs and how afterschool helps engage them in learning.

Engage Youth as Event Partners
When involving youth in your event planning, consider:
  • Student ages.
  • Group size. Will students work in large or small groups, or will individuals run their own activities?
  • Leadership skills of your students. Could they entirely design and follow through with a project, or will they need a good bit of development and leadership from you?
  • Students with disabilities. Special accommodations may need to be made to include students with physical and learning disabilities.
  • Training. Would leadership development, planning, public speaking, working with the media, etc. be helpful to youth?

 

Examples of youth involvement levels
Level Tasks
Youth-Led A youth committee designs the rally or event, assigns roles and implements the plan with guidance from adults.
Youth Leaders Youth work with adults to identify roles they could fill and then plan out the steps and fulfill each role, such as tour guides for site tours of the program, publicity team to make posters and signs, donation team to ask local business for donated snacks and goodies.
Youth Contributions Individuals volunteer to speak, help set up the event, write invitations, hang up posters, perform or provide a demonstration at the event, decorate the event location, etc.
Ideas to Celebrate Youth Voices
TX

Case Study: A 'Day in the Life' event forges new relationships with media and policy makers

Activity: Talent Showcase
Theme: Youth and Parent Voices
Level: Expert | Weeks
TX

Case Study: Creative program inspires policy maker support

Activity: Rally
Theme: Youth and Parent Voices
Level: Intermediate | Weeks
PA

Case Study: Battle of the Bands draws media and local officials

Activity: Rally
Theme: Youth and Parent Voices
Level: Expert | Weeks
MD

Case Study: Open house impresses local leaders & boosts staff

Activity: Open House/Site Tour
Theme: Youth and Parent Voices
Level: Intermediate | Three Weeks
IN

Case Study: The community comes together to light up the sky

Activity: Talent Showcase
Theme: Youth and Parent Voices
Level: Expert | Four Weeks
AZ

Case Study: Committee connects to business for support

Activity: Talent Showcase
Theme: Youth and Parent Voices
Level: Expert | Six Weeks
MO

Case Study: Cultural event opens door to new contribution

Activity: Talent Showcase
Theme: Youth and Parent Voices
Level: Intermediate | Ten Weeks
SC

Case Study: Sponsor recognition expands existing sponsorships & recruits new funders

Activity: Carnival/Festival
Theme: Youth and Parent Voices
Level: Expert | Ten Weeks
CA

Case Study: Working with local restaurants to forge creative partnerships in smaller and rural communities

Activity: Carnival/Festival
Theme: Youth and Parent Voices
Level: Intermediate | Six Weeks
TX

Rally at Courthouse with Police Dept, Mayor and Program Partners

Activity: Carnival/Festival
Theme: Youth and Parent Voices
Level: Expert | Four Weeks
NV

Case Study: Celebration led by youth honors a friend of afterschool

Activity: Talent Showcase
Theme: Youth and Parent Voices
Level: Expert | Ten Weeks
CA

Carnival Highlights Need for Afterschool Funds

Activity: Carnival/Festival
Theme: Youth and Parent Voices
Level: Expert | One Weeks
AR

Talent Show and Harvest Festival

Activity: Talent Showcase
Theme: Youth and Parent Voices
Level: Intermediate | One Weeks
AZ

Open House & Youth Demo at Air Force Base

Activity: Open House/Site Tour
Theme: Youth and Parent Voices
Level: Beginner | One Weeks
AK

Students Lead US Senator on Program Tour

Activity: Open House/Site Tour
Theme: Youth and Parent Voices
Level: Intermediate | Three Weeks
AK

Youth and Parents Share "Why Afterschool Matters to Me"

Activity: Open House/Site Tour
Theme: Youth and Parent Voices
Level: Expert | Three Weeks

Halloween Themed Event Involves Leaders and Donors

Activity: Carnival/Festival
Theme: Youth and Parent Voices
Level: Intermediate | One Weeks

Petition, Poetry & Art for Lights On Afterschool

Activity: Open House/Site Tour
Theme: Youth and Parent Voices
Level: Beginner | One Weeks

Glow Stick Lighting for Afterschool

Activity: Carnival/Festival
Theme: Youth and Parent Voices
Level: Beginner | Two Weeks
IA

Celebrations Across State Unite on Twitter

Activity: Open House/Site Tour
Theme: Youth and Parent Voices
Level: Intermediate | Three Weeks

Hands On Newsroom Experience for Youth

Activity: Carnival/Festival
Theme: Youth and Parent Voices
Level: Intermediate | Three Weeks

A Focus on Bullying Prevention & Education

Activity: Talent Showcase
Theme: Youth and Parent Voices
Level: Beginner | Three Weeks
AZ

Afterschool Medley: Talent Showcase, Art, Robotics Demo & Tutoring

Activity: Carnival/Festival
Theme: Youth and Parent Voices
Level: Intermediate | Four Weeks
AZ

Family Fun Night with 'Trunk or Treat'

Activity: Carnival/Festival
Theme: Youth and Parent Voices
Level: Beginner | One Weeks
AZ

Parks & Rec 'Around the World' Expo Draws 2,000 Guests

Activity: Carnival/Festival
Theme: Youth and Parent Voices
Level: Intermediate | Three Weeks
AZ

Open House with Superintendent

Activity: Carnival/Festival
Theme: Youth and Parent Voices
Level: Beginner | One Weeks

Talent Show and Harvest Festival

Activity: Carnival/Festival
Theme: Youth and Parent Voices
Level: Beginner | Two Weeks
AK

Fall Festival Presents Afterschool Program to Community

Activity: Carnival/Festival
Theme: Youth and Parent Voices
Level: Beginner | Two Weeks
CA

Auto Company Brings Race Car Drivers to Talk Careers & Car Safety with Middle School Youth

Activity: Carnival/Festival
Theme: Youth and Parent Voices
Level: Intermediate | Four Weeks