Issue Briefs

Drawing connections between pressing issues and afterschool

Name almost any topic and the Afterschool Alliance can tell you how it intersects with afterschool in these briefs that are chock-full of information. 

Afterschool programs are a key partner in strengthening communities across the country, whether it's keeping kids active and healthy in the hours after school or meeting the needs of underserved populations to promoting parent engagement and beyond. These briefs demonstrate the connections between afterschool and a wide range of hot topics, presenting contextual data on the topic, providing examples of promising afterschool programs, and making the case for greater investment in afterschool.

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Afterschool: Fostering Protective Factors that Can Last a Lifetime (September 2019)

New research tells us that the adolescent years are a highly important developmental period for brain growth and “the second most critical period of development.” However, there are factors at the individual and community levels that impact the development process. This includes both risk factors that increase the likelihood that one will take part in unhealthy behaviors, such as substance misuse, and protective factors that spur healthy behaviors and development. This issue brief, accompanied by in-depth afterschool program profiles, examines the way in which afterschool and summer learning programs promote protective factors to help young people to build up the skills and competencies they will need to navigate life’s challenges and become the country’s next generation of leaders, thinkers, and trailblazers.

 

Health and Wellness Issue Briefs

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Afterschool Supports Service Opportunities from Youth to Young Adulthood (April 2019)

All individuals, regardless of age, can benefit from service opportunities. For youth, service-learning projects promote strong community ties and positive development outcomes, while experiential service programs promote similar personal and professional gains for young adults. This issue brief details the way in which afterschool and summer learning programs are expanding access and availability of service opportunities for youth and young adults alike. Accompanying this brief are six in-depth afterschool program profiles that highlight the different roles programs play in the healthy development of both the next generation and our democracy:

 

Issue Briefs Service Vista Youth Development

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Promoting Civic Engagement Through Afterschool Programs (Nov 2018)

Civic engagement, which has been linked to positive short-term and long-term outcomes including a stronger connection to the community and improved wellbeing, starts with young people. This issue brief, created in partnership with the Center for Global Education at Asia Society, details the way in which afterschool and summer learning programs are promoting students’ civic dispositions, bringing lessons of democracy to life, and empowering youth to enact change. Accompanying this brief are five in-depth afterschool program profiles that highlight the different roles programs play to inspire youth to be knowledgeable, engaged, and civically minded individuals:

Youth Development

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A Big-Picture Approach to Wellness: Afterschool Supporting Strong Bodies and Minds (September 2018)

A comprehensive approach to wellness—which includes healthy eating and physical activity and extends to additional aspects of health, such as social and emotional skills and competencies—can provide the necessary supports for healthy children grow into healthy adults. This issue brief details the national public health issues children are facing today and discusses the afterschool field’s ability to provide a place where children feel safe, are surrounded by supportive mentors, have access to nutritious foods, are able to be active, can form relationships with their peers, learn how to set positive goals for themselves, and feel empowered to take charge of their lives. Accompanying this brief are five in-depth afterschool program profiles that highlight the different roles programs play to support their students’ physical and social and emotional health:

Health and Wellness

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An Ideal Opportunity: The Role of Afterschool in Social and Emotional Learning (May 2018)

Ensuring all children and youth thrive as they move through school and into their adult lives requires that they have the opportunity to develop the skills and competencies that will help them land their first job, navigate and overcome the challenges they will face, keep positive relationships, and make good decisions. Learn more in this issue brief about afterschool and summer learning programs, which have long been a place for positive youth development, helping in students' social and emotional development. In addition, in-depth afterschool program profiles that highlight the different roles programs play to support social and emotional learning complement this issue brief:

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Building Workforce Skills in Afterschool (Nov 2017)

A strong and vibrant economy is reliant on a strong and vibrant workforce equipped with the necessary skills, competencies, and knowledge. This issue brief highlights the ladder of supports afterschool and summer learning programs provide to help students develop the skills and gain the experience that will benefit them in the workforce, from building students’ communication and teamwork skills in elementary school to connecting students to internships and apprenticeships in high school. In addition to this issue brief, six complementary in-depth afterschool program profiles highlight different roles programs play to build students’ workforce skills:

Building students’ foundational skills and competencies that will help them in the workforce and in life

Introducing students to new interests, opening their eyes to potential career pathways

Providing real-world work experiences that help build students’ familiarity with and capabilities in the workforce

 

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Afterschool Providing Key Literacy Supports to English Language Learner Students (June 2017)

The Afterschool Alliance, in partnership with Dollar General Literacy Foundation, is proud to present this issue brief focusing on the integral supports afterschool programs provide to build English language learner (ELL) students’ literacy skills. In addition to this issue brief, which outlines the challenges facing ELL students and the opportunities participating in afterschool programs afford, six complementary in-depth afterschool program profiles highlight different roles programs play to engage ELL students:

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Taking a Year-Round Approach to Literacy (March 2016)

The Afterschool Alliance, in partnership with Dollar General Literacy Foundation, is proud to present this issue brief focusing on the year-round support needed to help students with their reading, writing and critical thinking skills. This issue brief will also delve into the variety of ways afterschool and summer learning programs are taking a year-round approach to literacy, helping students catch up and keep up.

Issue Briefs Literacy

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Building Literacy in Afterschool (March 2015)

The Afterschool Alliance, in partnership with Dollar General Literacy Foundation, is proud to present this issue brief examining the vital role afterschool programs play to build students' literacy skills. This issue brief will explore the additional support needed to help students with their reading, writing and critical thinking skills; delve into the variety of ways in which afterschool programs are successfully developing students' literacy skills; and provide examples of afterschool programs that are fostering students' love and appreciation of reading and writing.

Literacy

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Keeping Kids Safe and Supported in the Hours After School (May 2014)

The Afterschool Alliance, in partnership with MetLife Foundation, is proud to present the third of four issue briefs in our sixth series examining critical issues facing middle school youth and the vital role afterschool programs play in addressing these issues. This brief explores the variety of ways afterschool programs are keeping middle schoolers safe, getting them engaged in learning, and helping them take advantage of their full potential as they navigate school, peers and their surroundings.

Working Families

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