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ERIC Number: ED498874
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2003-Jan
Pages: 19
Abstractor: ERIC
Afterschool: The Natural Platform for Youth Development. Afterschool Alert. Issue Brief No. 15
Naughton, Sandra
Afterschool Alliance
Since the 1900s, US leaders have worked to address the needs of American children and youth. Social services, educational resources and health organizations have targeted the needs of youth. In every decade of the 20th century, the White House has brought together prominent scholars, social workers and community leaders to address the contemporary needs of youth. Despite this long history of youth programming, the youth development field is a relatively modern movement, beginning in the late 1980s as research on prevention and intervention approaches in youth programming that did not attain desired results. Many publicly funded prevention or intervention programs assumed that the "problem" resulted from a fault or deficit in a young person rather than considering the complex environment. These prevention and intervention programs attempted to "fix" problems by offering corrective knowledge or skills, all of which proved unsuccessful and indicated that social engineering was limited. The new youth development movement advocates for a more holistic approach--one that emphasizes supporting the development of youth, rather than the "fixing" of youth. This new orientation focuses more on building strengths as a way to reduce weaknesses. This new youth development movement steadily gained more recognition in the field of youth programming, as evidenced by a 1997 Presidential Summit for America's Future, which highlighted examples of programs designed to enhance social, emotional, physical, and cognitive growth of youth in structured, supportive and safe environments. Recent scientifically based research appears to validate the strengths of this more comprehensive youth development approach. The growing body of knowledge about youth development, both in research and in practice, demonstrates that communities can successfully meet the diverse needs of the youth through afterschool programs. While individual communities need to take steps to meet the unique needs of youth during the hours after school, national leaders and federal agencies need to work together to build a supportive infrastructure of funding opportunities, technical assistance and research efforts to make a significant and long-term impact for American youth. (Contains 41 endnotes.)
Afterschool Alliance. 1616 H Street NW Suite 820, Washington, DC 20006. Tel: 202-347-1002; Fax: 202-347-2092; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Afterschool Alliance, Washington, DC.
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A