Vigorous leadership by mayors and city council members can yield big dividends through improvements in the quality of afterschool programs, according to a new NLC publication that spotlights eight successful community initiatives focusing on engaging students in the critical hours after school.
The publication, “The Afterschool Hours: A New Focus for America’s Cities,” demonstrates the connection between the availability of quality afterschool programs and improving both the quality of life and economic development in cities. Afterschool can keep young people safe, help working families and support academic achievement.
While highlighting eight cities engaged in this work, this report offers practical advice and lessons for any local official to use.
The eight communities — Charlotte, N.C., Fort Worth, Texas, Fresno, Calif., Grand Rapids, Mich., Indianapolis, Ind., Lincoln, Neb., Spokane, Wash., and Washington, D.C. — each assembled a diverse group of key stakeholders, including municipal officials, school board members, school administrators, parents, community based organizations, and business and civic leaders to design or improve implementation of afterschool programs.
Participating cities focused on a range of issues pertinent to the needs of their communities, including access to services in underserved neighborhoods; improvement in program quality; building public will; alleviation of turf battles and competition through effective partnerships; development of governance and finance structures to sustain programs; and engaging youth in program development.
The report highlights seven lessons learned ranging from the array of opportunities municipal officials have to advance the afterschool agenda, to the value of good data, to the necessity of effective outreach to parents.
The 30-month project, sponsored by NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education, and Families (YEF Institute) and made possible by the financial support of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, sought to assist local communities and to illustrate the leadership roles that mayors and city council members can play, and are playing, in improving and expanding afterschool programs.
“Many municipal leaders seek opportunities to share their experiences, compare their city’s strategy against promising practices or learn from other local elected officials,” said Cliff Johnson, executive director of the YEF Institute.
“The Afterschool Hours: A New Focus for America’s Cities” shows how important it is for city officials to get involved. This publication will be useful to anyone interested in improving afterschool programs.”
Details: For more information, contact Audrey Hutchinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-626-3053. The report can be downloaded from the NLC website at www.nlc.org, or request a hard copy by leaving a detailed message at 202-626-3014.