Youth Voice

Now more than ever, it is vital to provide youth the opportunity to share their voices and ideas about things they care about. Afterschool is an important space for helping youth develop the confidence and skills they need to share those ideas.
Check out our Youth Voice Toolkit to help you elevate youth voice in your work!

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.

Youth Ambassadors

Learn more about the Afterschool Alliance youth ambassador program and meet our current class of youth ambassadors.

Youth Voice Resources

Learn how you can better leverage and share out the voices of the youth in your program.

Share your story

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.

Afterschool Alliance 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.

Jay'Len Clark-Carr

IGNITE Afterschool Program
Philadelphia, PA

Edgar Euceda

Elsik Debate Club
Houston, TX

Ava Havidic

Broward Youth Coalition of United Way
Fort Lauderdale, FL

Gabrielle Haynes

Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows
Reno, NV

Jully Myrthil

Young Voices RI
Providence, RI

Issa Ouarid

Life Pieces to Masterpieces
Washington, DC

Willany Sayles

Gadsden City Schools 21st Century Afterschool Program
Gadsden, AL

Brandon Tibbs

ComED Youth Ambassadors, Black Male Leadership Academy
Chicago, IL

James Tonetti

Project Connection
Stockbridge, MA

Aurie-Anne Vixama

After-School All-Stars South Florida
Miami, FL

Trinity Ansley

San Diego Urban League, Project Ready
El Cajon, CA

Jamora Arroyo-Jefferson

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
Miami, FL

Spencer Harrison

Tiger Pride Clubs
Pryor, OK

Madelyn Hinkleman

South Dakota Afterschool Network
Summit, SD

Katelyn Miller

Create 205 Lab, Birmingham Public Library
Calera, AL

Avery Reisinger

Kids Rank Illinois - Afterschool Club, Summer Club, Youth Advisory Board
Puyallup, WA

Nekayla Stokes

Black Student Union, Delaware Afterschool Network, United Way of Delaware
New Castle, DE

Brock Brewer

Youth and Family Link 21st Century Afterschool Program- Huntington
Kelso, WA

Naomi Porter

EntrepreYOUership- Boys and Girls Club
Los Angeles, CA

Ramaya Thomas

VOXATL, The Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project, Mock Trial
Dallas, GA

Zhonghui Zheng

Global kids ( in NYC)
New York City, NY

Deborah Adekunle

PVDYoungMaker, Youth In Action
Providence, RI

Viridiana Gonzalez

The Afterschool Program for Forth Worth ISD
Fort Worth, TX

Tim Hall

Mountain Home AFB Youth Center
Mountain Home Air Force Base, ID

Ruben Balderas

WaHi FORWARD Afterschool Program
Walla Walla, WA

Maya Irvine

Missouri’s Camdenton FIRST LASER Robotics Team
Camdenton, MO

HarliJo McKinney

C3 Afterschool Program
Stratford, OK

Kaleb Robertson

Boys & Girls Club of Greater Green Bay
Green Bay, WI

Marisol Romero

Safe Haven Community Center (21st CCLC and Summer Programs)
Toppenish , WA

Share your afterschool story!

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:

  • What has your afterschool experience been like? What do you do, what kinds of activities, what do you like about it and how does it help you?
  • When you reflect on your afterschool experiences, how do you think they have affected who you are or what you like to do?
  • What do you miss the most about your afterschool program from before the pandemic?
  • Has your afterschool program helped you during the pandemic? How?
  • What do you love most about your program?

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 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!

Youth Voices Webinars

From Youth Served to Youth Led: How to build an intergenerational team for impact


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 Hall


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 Hall


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.

Youth Voices Blogs

Meet our 2024 cohort of Youth Afterschool Ambassadors!
Apply to become an Afterschool Alliance Youth Ambassador!
U.S. Dept. of Ed. calls for more afterschool and summer supports
A journey of gratitude and personal growth: A reflection on the impact of a transformative youth program