Have you ever left a conference or retreat feeling recharged only to get bogged down by the day-to-day challenges once you get back to your desk? We’ve all been there.
That’s why United Way and its partners have identified critical action steps coming out of last week’s successful Out-of-School Time Summit. The Summit was a great opportunity for national nonprofits, local United Ways and key stakeholders to discuss how to strengthen out-of-school supports and services for our young people. While this was an inspiring event and the attendees left feeling reenergized to do the work at hand – it begs the question, “What’s next?”
To continue the momentum, we invite out-of-school time advocates to join us in helping enact policy, align and coordinate efforts, mobilize and engage communities, raise awareness, and lend their voices to better ensure that youth have access to high-quality out-of-school time opportunities.
Please consider taking on the action steps below to help get the message out about the importance of out-of-school time.
Here are a few things you can do:
- Advocate for high-quality afterschool, summer, and expanded learning programs. Contact your congressional representative and ask them to support federal investments in quality out-of-school time programs.
- Ask your local school board to commission a study on out-of-school time in your community. Find out when your school board is hosting their next public meeting and talk about the importance of identifying existing resources and possible gaps in programs meeting the needs of older youth (e.g. grade and school-level transitions, workforce development, college preparation and access, STEM).
- Write a letter to your school district superintendent in support of early warning and response systems. Early warning and response systems can identify students off track to graduate, before they actually physically drop out. High-quality, targeted afterschool, summer learning, and transition supports can play a vital role in getting these students back on track and prepared for college and career.
We hope that you’ll join us to continue to advance out-of-school time as an important strategy for supporting student success. For more information on how to advocate for United Way’s priorities, go to www.unitedway.org/advocate.