Making The Case For Out Of School Time
More than a decade of research links sustained participation in out-of-school time programs to positive outcomes that support student success including: improved work-study habits, increased interest and engagement in learning, improved classroom grades and performance on standardized tests (for more information see, "Out-of-School Time and Youth Outcomes").
Although the research shows that out-of-school time program participation can change the trajectory for youth participants, United Ways and their out-of-school time partners must continually advocate for public and private support of and sustained investment in quality out-of-school time initiatives in the communities they work in.
In addition to research demonstrating positive outcomes, data from studies documenting the need and demand for out-of-school time programs should also be used to make the case:
- According to the latest America After 3PM study, more than 15 million children and youth in grades K-12 take care of themselves after school ends.
- The afternoon hours, from 3-6 PM, are a time of greatest risk for youth — juvenile crime peaks during this time, youth are also more likely to become victims of crime, and/or engage in risk-taking behaviors — including drug and alcohol consumption (to access the America After 3PM Study, click here).
- Working parents want their children to participate in safe, structured and enriching out-of-school time activities during non-school hours and many feel that there are not enough programs that are accessible and affordable. Click here to view report.
While national data helps to provide a big picture view of the issue, United Ways can also work with partners and as part of out-of-school time coalitions to understand this data in their own communities. How many children and youth in your community are on their own afterschool? Are parents in your community satisfied with the current availability of programs? What do parents and youth want from programs they participate in? What are the juvenile crime rates in your community?
This toolkit connects you with tips, templates, research, and case studies that can help you and your out-of-school time partners make an effective case for continued public and private investment in afterschool. Use these tools in conjunction with your own local data and success stories to make the case for why high quality out-of-school time programs are essential for ensuring that children, youth and their families have the opportunities necessary to support their continued development and academic success with funders, policymakers and community members.