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October 18, 2012

Leaders Agree: Out-of-School Time Opportunities Are Key to Student Success

Alexandria, VA (October 18, 2012) – Education and community leaders today gathered at United Way Worldwide to promote youth achievement through a focus on out-of-school activities. The summit created dialogue about the effect of out-of-school programs and how they can be used to foster more successful and high-achieving students.

“Gymnastics played such an important role in my life. It kept me challenged mentally and physically when I wasn’t in school; it kept me from many negative influences. This out-of-school activity allowed my character to be developed, and without it I wouldn’t be here talking to you today,” said Dominique Dawes, out-of-school-time advocate and Olympic gymnastics gold medal winner. “I want the same opportunity for every child in America.”

Leaders from 48 organizations ranging from Big Brothers Big Sisters to the National Education Association gathered for a day-long summit to promote youth achievement through a sharper focus on activities outside the classroom. Because students spend only 20 percent of time in classrooms, maximizing out-of-school opportunities is key to helping youth succeed in school, work and life, attendees agreed. The first-ever United Way Out-of-School Time Summit created a deeper dialogue about the impact of out-of-school programs and how they can help foster more student success and achievement.

“In today’s knowledge economy, the standard school day and year are too short to provide students the time and resources they need for a top-flight education. That’s why more time in school is so important, and in many communities after-school programs are an essential safe haven for learning, fun and development when school is out. I am confident that one outcome of this summit will be greater multi-sector collaboration at the national, state and local levels, to keep all our kids moving forward,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

“United Way’s goal to increase high school completion by 50 percent by 2018 requires the collective effort of individuals. When youth are involved in after-school, weekend and summer enrichment programs that promote learning, they’re more likely to graduate from high school. We must work together to ensure that we exceed their needs and provide them with the necessary resources in achieving academic success—leading them to a better quality of life,” said United Way Worldwide President and CEO Brian Gallagher.

The Out-of-School Time summit represents the culmination of three years of research and reporting on out-of-school time practices. With the support of jcpenney, United Way Worldwide has provided grants to cities throughout the country to help build and solidify out-of-school-time activities. For more information about out-of-school time and United Way, or to read the issue brief, visit http://outofschooltime.unitedway.org/.

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About United Way

United Way is a worldwide network in 41 countries and territories, including more than 1,200 local organizations in the U.S. It advances the common good, creating opportunities for a better life for all by focusing on the three key building blocks of education, income and health.  United Way recruits people and organizations who bring the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done.  LIVE UNITED® is a call to action for everyone to become a part of the change. For more information about United Way, please visit: www.UnitedWay.org

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Jonathan Moore