Youth are at the center of quality afterschool and summer learning programs. Their voices need to be heard. Our youth voice efforts aim to amplify the perspectives of youth to inform policy and programming across the nation.
Learn about our Youth Ambassador program, how youth can share their stories, and ways to support youth voice in your own program.
Learn more about the Afterschool Alliance youth ambassador program and meet our current class of youth ambassadors.
Learn how you can better leverage and share out the voices of the youth in your program.
Tell us your afterschool story for a chance to be featured on our website and for an opportunity to participate in our youth ambassador program.
Each year, the Afterschool Alliance recruits a cohort of youth to serve as Youth Ambassadors. The cohort is trained as afterschool advocates—receiving training on how to talk about their afterschool experience in the context of the national afterschool field and guidance on how to advocate to policymakers using their afterschool story. For example, we have provided previous cohorts with training on how to write letters to their congressional representatives, op-eds to be placed in local newspapers, and blog posts to be published on the Afterschool Alliance’s Afterschool Snack. As part of their ambassadorship, we bring each cohort to Washington, D.C. on an expenses-paid trip to participate in the Afterschool for All Challenge, where they meet with their congressional representatives and offer remarks at the Afterschool for All Showcase on Capitol Hill (provided that travel is allowable and safe, of course)!
Youth Ambassadors, both during and after their term of service with the Afterschool Alliance, also have additional opportunities to share their voice on our national platform. For example, we have had Youth Ambassadors serve as speakers on our webinars and national town halls. We have also featured Youth Ambassadors on promotional materials and connected them with advocacy opportunities at their individual state or local levels. Each Youth Ambassador receives a stipend for their participation in the program, which spans the course of 8 months.
IGNITE Afterschool Program
Elsik Debate Club
Broward Youth Coalition of United Way
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows
Young Voices RI
Life Pieces to Masterpieces
Gadsden City Schools 21st Century Afterschool Program
ComED Youth Ambassadors, Black Male Leadership Academy
After-School All-Stars South Florida
San Diego Urban League, Project Ready
El Cajon, CA
PAMM (Perez Art Museum Miami) Teen Arts Council, Miami Waterkeeper Junior Ambassador Program, Breakthrough Miami, and The Children’s Trust of Miami-Dade Youth Advisory Committee
Tiger Pride Clubs
South Dakota Afterschool Network
Create 205 Lab, Birmingham Public Library
Kids Rank Illinois - Afterschool Club, Summer Club, Youth Advisory Board
Black Student Union, Delaware Afterschool Network, United Way of Delaware
New Castle, DE
The Boys & Girls Club of Kennebec Valley
Speech & Debate afterschool program at Miami Arts Studio (school)
Eldon Learning Enrichment Afterschool Program (LEAP)
The Afterschool Program for Forth Worth ISD
Fort Worth, TX
Mountain Home AFB Youth Center
Mountain Home Air Force Base, ID
WaHi FORWARD Afterschool Program
Walla Walla, WA
Boys & Girls Club of Greater Green Bay
Green Bay, WI
Safe Haven Community Center (21st CCLC and Summer Programs)
Toppenish , WA
The Afterschool Alliance wants to hear what youth think, feel, or appreciate about their afterschool programs! Youth age 13 & up who share their views in a written, video, or art piece may be featured on the Afterschool Alliance website! Youth whose work are selected to be featured will receive a $75 gift card.
Youth can submit entries online. Consider addressing one or more of the following questions:
Submit a video, artwork, essay, or other creative piece (you can upload .doc, .pdf, .jpg or .gif files under 16MB and/or provide a link to YouTube for video or audio entries)--we encourage your creativity! Entrants must be 13 or older and have adult permission to participate. Reach out with any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing your story!
Whether providing leadership opportunities, fostering the development of critical social and emotional competencies, or creating space where youth feel they are being heard and validated, out-of-school-time programs are helping to develop the leaders of tomorrow by turning the mic over to them today! Here are great youth voice resources!
From Youth Served to Youth Led: How to build an intergenerational team for impact12/01/21
The Institute for Citizens & Scholars (C&S) and Afterschool Alliance will host an online webinar moderated and led by students from the Kentucky Student Voice Team (KSVT). The students will share more about the report co-authored by C&S and KSVT, to be published Nov. 8.
Lights On Afterschool Youth Town Hall10/28/21
Join us for the centerpiece event of the 22nd annual Lights On Afterschool, the nation’s celebration of afterschool programs. Youth from programs around the country will share reflections on the past year and a half and how their afterschool programs have impacted their lives, perspectives on what youth need to thrive, and hopes for the future. A special segment will be devoted to recognizing the powerful role of afterschool program staff and mentors in shaping the lives of young people.
Lights On Virtual Event: Youth Town Hall10/22/20
You’re invited to our Lights On Afterschool centerpiece event: the Youth Town Hall. Starting at 6 p.m. ET, four youth leaders from afterschool programs (ages 13-16) will speak in a panel/Q&A format, sharing their afterschool experiences (pre and during COVID), and discussing what youth need to thrive.