Afterschool programs keep kids safe, inspire them to learn, and give working parents peace of mind. They help children learn, grow, and reach their full potential, offering new learning opportunities that help students do better in school and in life. Children in afterschool programs attend school more often, get better grades, and are more likely to graduate. They are less likely to use drugs or alcohol.
But too many children are missing out. For every child in a program, three are waiting to get in. Nationwide, 7.7 million children are on their own between 3 and 6 p.m. The Afterschool Alliance is working to ensure that all children, regardless of income or geographic area, have access to quality afterschool programs. Our efforts are aimed at securing resources to expand programming and help programs be the best they can be. We focus foremost on underserved and disadvantaged children and communities.
The Alliance works to ensure that all youth have access to affordable, quality afterschool programs by engaging public will to increase public and private investment in afterschool program initiatives at the national, state, and local levels.
Our Commitment to Equity
The Afterschool Alliance works to expand afterschool and summer opportunities wherever children live and learn, with respect for every child’s needs and identities--including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender identity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, ability, age, native language, and faith.
Out-of-school time programs provide critical opportunities for children to reach their full potential.
We recognize that access to opportunity is not equal, and that afterschool programs work to bridge gaps across many of the interwoven systemic inequities that exist in our society--especially for historically marginalized communities.
We at the Afterschool Alliance commit to addressing inequity in our own work and within our organization, and we strive to advance the afterschool field's overall efforts to address inequities.
We also recognize that this is an ongoing process that will require intentional thought, education, and action. We will hold ourselves accountable for the work that we must put in to truly fulfill our mission of increasing access to afterschool programs for all children and families.
As we move forward to actively ensure that equity is intentionally and sustainably integrated into all that we do, the following values will be at the core of our work:
- Encouraging Sustainable Investments. We believe that quality afterschool and summer learning programs are essential for students to achieve their full potential in their academics, their future careers, and their lives. Public and private investments empower out-of-school time programs to keep students safe, inspire them to learn, and give their families peace of mind. Investments must be sufficient to ensure afterschool and youth work can be recognized as a professional workforce that requires a living wage, benefits, and professional pathways.
- Inspiring Holistic Youth Development. Our focus is to inspire thoughtful, responsive, protective, and comprehensive programming. We work to equip the field with the highest quality and most relevant resources possible by respecting and responding to the needs of each individual and community.
- Supporting Equitable Access. We are committed to making sure that every afterschool and summer learning program is equipped with the resources it needs to positively impact the health, academic success, and physical and emotional safety of each child it serves. We are especially responsive to the resource needs of programs receiving low levels of support and programs that serve a high percentage of students from vulnerable populations.
- Empowering Community Action. Our aim is to understand the varying needs of every community, the resources they may require, and the strengths they possess. With a diversity of voices as a priority, we provide students, families, community programs, stakeholders, and policy influencers with the tools and information they need to advocate on their own behalves.
- Be an effective voice for afterschool in efforts to expand quality affordable afterschool and summer programs
- Serve as an information source on afterschool programs and resources
- Encourage the development of local, state, and national afterschool constituencies and systems
- Communicate the impact of afterschool programs on children, families, and communities
The Afterschool Alliance was established in 2000 by a small group of corporate and foundation philanthropies—including the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, JCPenney Company, Inc., the Open Society Institute/The After-School Corporation, the Entertainment Industry Foundation and the Creative Artists Agency Foundation—to expand afterschool and summer learning opportunities nationwide. Since our inception, public investment in afterschool programs has doubled.
Today, the Alliance works with a broad range of organizations and supporters, including policymakers, government agencies, youth, parent and education groups, business and philanthropic leaders, afterschool coalitions and providers at the national, state, and local levels, and leaders representing health and wellness, college and career readiness, social and emotional learning, science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning, and more—each with a stake in afterschool.