About You for Youth
As its name suggests, this site is about you and the young people you nurture. But it's more than that. It's also a reflection of what we've heard from you. You asked for an online professional learning community that helps you connect with your colleagues and share what you've learned about best practices. You asked for professional learning opportunities in areas such as (1) supporting positive relationships with children and youth, (2) providing professional development and technical assistance opportunities, (3) creating partnerships, (4) managing your program, and (5) leading your staff. You asked for tools and resources to create positive experiences for the children in your programs and help them achieve their dreams. And guess what? Your priorities support the results of our research, which tells us that students who attend high-quality afterschool programs are more likely to do better in school, make positive choices about their health and well-being, and show improved communication and social skills with peers and adults. Congratulations to you for changing the field of afterschool and improving the lives of our children!
MISSION: To build a community of caring and competent afterschool professionals who nurture, motivate, and engage children and youth in 21st CCLC programs. Moments of joy mark the real learning experiences of our lives. Whether we call them discoveries, breakthroughs, understandings or wows, they tickle our brains and make us want to know more.
As someone who works in an afterschool program, you have opportunities to help young people find these experiences. Together, you build relationships and explore the knowledge related to your discoveries. You grow. And growth is why this site exists. The children, youth, and adults who participate in the 21st Century Community Learning Centers programs want to grow their skills and knowledge. They want to create exciting learning spaces. They want to connect with each other, with their communities, and with their schools. They want to have fun with learning.
This site is designed to support the important work — and play — that happens in an out-of-school time setting. It embraces positive youth development and resilience principles and practices: (1) caring relationships, (2) messages with high expectations, and (3) meaningful opportunities to participate and contribute. Together, these principles and practices help create environments that nurture and support the healthy development of the whole child. This promotes healthy youth who grow and succeed in school and life. The focus of this site is on learning and professional development, for every staff member at every level of the program. You already have a passion for your work. Here, you can become more professional about how you do the work. The learning experiences, tools, resources and contacts on this website come from afterschool experts, education researchers, and people at real afterschool programs. The examples you'll find here have not been invented. Rather, they have been put into settings that can help you look at your work in new ways — and find new ways to make it better.
Please explore this site. Become a member of a practice community or discussion group. Follow the links that sound most interesting to you. Then keep going, and keep coming back. Help this site grow, too.