Online Professional Learning and
Technical Assistance for
21st Century Community Learning Centers


May 18, 2023

Teacher outside gardening with studentsLocal organizations, people, and places can be tremendous assets in helping your program provide meaningful student experiences. But how can you attract these untapped resources? Sometimes, all you need to do is send out the bat signal!

Give It a Break!

It’s no secret that you and your team work tirelessly throughout the year to provide fun, enriching activities for your students. Have you thought about community outreach as a way to give yourselves a much-needed break? Engaging others is a win-win situation: You get a breather, and your students get a chance to explore new interests while building valuable relationships within their community. Not sure where to start? Y4Y’s Community Asset Mapping QPQ module gives you a rundown on how to engage businesses, organizations, individuals, and resources from your own community. Explore these fresh ideas for involving potential partners into your program:

  • Many local libraries would be thrilled to host a book club with your students. Arrange for a field trip, explore different book genres, and vote on one book for each month.
  • Museums are an engaging way to learn about science, art, local history, or other topics, and some offer free tours or events for students.
  • See if your students have a green thumb by bringing in a local Master Gardner to help start a garden at your program site. Students will “dig” learning about the role of earthworms and pollinators in the food chain!
  • Ask a local carpentry shop if they’d be interested in making your students “carpenters for the day.” Are there safe, age-appropriate ways that students can make something lasting with their own hands?
  • Create an exercise club by partnering with a local gym. Host a morning run during the summer or ask a trainer for a boxing class.
  • For some delicious fun, turn to a nearby restaurant! An on-staff chef could lead your students in learning about nutrition, practicing sequencing and fractions, and acquiring cooking skills to last a lifetime.

Use the Y4Y Collaborative Partner Request Letter for a guide on reaching out to professionals and organizations within your community!

Tip: Be sure to provide accommodations or modifications as needed to ensure that all students can participate in the activities you offer.

Let’s Follow Up

Community outreach is important, but how do you take a lesson learned and run with it? How can newly forged relationships with partners carry on, even after an event or site visit is over? Not everyone you meet will turn into a partner, but the following ideas can inspire you to make sure the meaningful ones last:

  • A strong interest can easily turn into a job shadowing opportunity, an internship, or maybe even a part-time summer job! Are a couple of your older students particularly fond of that local museum your program visited? Don’t be afraid to ask what opportunities are available.
  • A Career Day is a fun way to bring students, program partners, and stakeholders (including families and schools) together. Your students can present a project or skill based on what they learned from program partners, and you can honor the local businesses and organizations that made it possible. For example, a student might try their hand at constructing a birdhouse with skills learned at the local carpentry shop and present the finished product.
  • Parent nights cohosted with that local library can bring families to the library (maybe for the first time), get students signed up for free library cards, show students and families how to access databases and reference materials for school projects, and more.


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