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 Programs Level the Playing Field for All Youth (2004)

This brief describes how afterschool programs have an opportunity to help disadvantaged youth catch up with their peers when the regular school day may not provide enough time or resources to address the various economic, language, or cultural barriers some students face.


Afterschool Programs Strengthen Communities (2004)

As people work longer hours, endure longer commutes and manage busier schedules, they have less time to socialize or join community organizations. This means it has become increasingly difficult for individuals to get to know their neighbors and communities. This brief explores how afterschool programs can play an important role in strengthening communities by offering a safe and stable environment for youth and providing opportunity for school and community partnerships.


Afterschool and Students with Special Needs (2004)

Students with special needs may not always receive the resources they need to reach their full potential during the school day, but afterschool programs can offer additional activities more tailored to the individual needs of children. Our first issue brief examines the valuable role afterschool programs can play in the life of a child with special needs.


Afterschool: A Natural Platform for Career Development (2004)

In the information economy of the 21st century, a “skilled” workforce is vitally necessary. Students must leave high school with more than basic proficiency in core subjects to continue on to higher education, career success and productive adulthood. This brief explores how afterschool programs can help all youth prepare for the workforce by building 21st century skills and offering exposure to various career fields or academic areas, which may be missed in the regular school day curriculum.


Older Youth Need Afterschool Programs (2004)

Although much of the funding and programming for afterschool targets younger children, there are myriad of advantages for older youth who participate in afterschool, and 2.3 million more high schoolers would participate in programs if they had the opportunity. This brief explores the unique needs of teens, and the role afterschool can play by providing them a safe environment and preparing them for college and the workforce. Additionally, this brief addresses the challenges afterschool programs face in reaching teens and explores how to overcome them.


Arts and Afterschool: A Powerful Combination (2005)

In this increasingly competitive information age and creative economy, art education is being squeezed out of school curricula, but knowledge and skills in the arts remains important. This brief addresses how the arts support creative achievement, unite communities, encourage self-expression and teach students about cultural history. This brief also highlights the role afterschool programs can play in filling the current gap in art education.


Afterschool Programs: A Wise Public Investment (2005)

As budgets have grown tighter at all levels of government, afterschool advocates and practitioners have faced increased difficulty securing adequate funding. This brief discusses the social cost associated with not providing afterschool programs and outlines the many benefits of investing in afterschool, including the high returns on investments for governments and businesses alike.


High School Reform and High School Afterschool: A Common Purpose (2005)

With the information economy of the 21st century upon us, a “skilled” workforce is necessary. Students must leave high school with more than basic proficiency in core subjects to continue on to higher education, career success and productive adulthood. This brief examines the potential role high school afterschool could play in decreasing dropout rates, tackling the achievement gap, and keeping kids on track towards successful futures.


Active Hours Afterschool: Childhood Obesity Prevention and Afterschool Programs (2006)

The obesity crisis in America has become so dire that health experts warn this generation of children may be the first to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. This brief addresses the current epidemic of childhood obesity, its health and economic costs, and how after afterschool can play a role in combating childhood obesity by offering healthy snacks and encouraging physical activity in a safe and educational environment.


Afterschool Programs: Helping Kids Succeed in Rural America (2007)

In communities where infrastructure and resources are limited, afterschool programs may offer the only opportunity for academic, recreational, and creative enrichment. This brief explores how afterschool programs in several rural communities are successfully serving their children, families and communities with vital resources.