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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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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Afterschool in the Time of COVID-19 – Wave 1 (July 2020)

In the first in a series of surveys that take the pulse of the afterschool field during the pandemic, it is clear that although afterschool programs remain a vital partner to help young people emerge from this crisis strong, resilient, and hopeful, they are in dire need of support. In a survey conducted by Edge Research on behalf of the Afterschool Alliance between May 28-June 30, 7 in 10 program providers report serving students in some capacity since the pandemic began, however, 84% of programs report that they are concerned that they will not be able to provide services in the fall.

 

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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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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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Back to School in the Time of COVID-19 – Wave 3 (November 2020)

Eight months into COVID-19, three key trends are shaping the landscape of afterschool programs across the nation. First, many more afterschool programs are operating now than were in the spring and summer. Second, programs are able to serve only about half as many students as they supported before the pandemic. Third, the children being left behind are disproportionately those from low-income families. These findings are documented in the brief, Back to School in the Time of COVID-19, based on the third in a series of surveys of afterschool program providers to monitor the state of the afterschool field. The Wave 3 provider survey of 1,445 program providers, was conducted between September 28 and October 27, and represents more than 7,300 program sites.

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From Prevention to Diversion: The Role of Afterschool in the Juvenile Justice System (May 2020)

Involvement with the juvenile justice system can have devastating impacts for youth, their families, and their communities. Through a broad spectrum of services and supports, the afterschool field has leveraged the out of school hours to help keep young people out of the juvenile justice system. From building protective factors that promote resiliency to serving as diversion programs that function as alternatives to detention, afterschool programs can be an essential part of the work to support the young people at risk of becoming involved or currently involved with the juvenile justice system and help reframe and redirect their futures. In addition, in-depth afterschool program profiles that demonstrate these range of supportive roles that programs can play complement this issue brief:

Issue Briefs Service

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How Afterschool is Supporting Learning and Recovery During COVID-19 (July 2020)

Individuals have found their lives upended by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and are facing unprecedented challenges in all corners of life. In response, communities have banded together to meet the immediate health, economic, and basic day-to-day needs of families. Joining local efforts, afterschool programs continue to be a source of support to the children and families in their community as they adapt to the challenging circumstances and stressors created by the pandemic. This issue brief, complemented by in-depth afterschool program profiles, explores the range of ways in which programs have responded to the needs of their community and placed the well-being and safety of children and families at the forefront of program efforts.

 

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Preparing for Back to School and Navigating Summer in the Time of COVID-19 – Wave 2 (September 2020)

After six months in a COVID-19 world, with the continued uncertainty of when things will return to normal, this brief, Preparing for Back to School and Navigating Summer in the Time of COVID-19, combines findings from a survey of parents along with the second in a series of surveys of afterschool and summer providers to monitor the state of the afterschool field. The Wave 2 provider survey of 1,047 afterschool and summer program providers, conducted between July 20 and August 31, finds that providers are growing increasingly worried about their program’s long-term sustainability, but despite these struggles, programs continue to provide supports to the children and families in their communities, with strong majorities of parents believing in the value of afterschool and summer programs, as well as supporting public funding for these opportunities.

 

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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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The academic and social and emotional benefits of participation in 21st Century Community Learning Centers (March 2021)

This short brief includes findings from state evaluations of 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) programs—locally designed school and community afterschool, before-school, and summer learning programs—that demonstrate the academic and social and emotional benefits that programs provide to support the whole child.

21st CCLC Federal Policy

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