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United Ways, working as part of broader coalitions, can use expert and public knowledge to develop a focused action agenda for Out-of-School Time. An action plan can help engage and galvanize a community to act by articulating, in a clear and coherent fashion, how OST opportunities connect to a bigger vision for young people. An action agenda can also emphasize what individuals in the community can do to make sure that the youth who need quality programs have access to them.

Developing An OST Action Agenda

To realize the full potential of Out-of-School Time programs to support student success, communities need to take a systemic approach that is not just focused on individual programs or specific funding streams, but rather on the universe of Out-of-School Time opportunities and supports during non-school hours.

Having an action plan can help a coalition: articulate the strategies that communities need to employ to strengthen Out-of-School Time access, quality, sustainability and outcomes; highlight the roles that United Ways and other coalition members will play to implement the strategies; and convey how coalition members will hold one another accountable for results.

In order to have a high-quality program or an effective OST coalition, people need a clear focus and determined steps to achieving the desired goals, which an action agenda can provide. An action agenda can be used to align coalition members' individual organizational efforts, frame strategies, and articulate specific action steps. After developing a strong agenda, United Ways can help lead coalition strategy development efforts and be part of ensuring strategy execution at the community and individual program level.


The United Way's Role

The United Way's goals and structure enables it to be a key actor in community mobilization. Your United Way can lead and/or facilitate a planning process that culminates in the development of a focused action agenda. In fact, your United Way is in a great position to do so— head to the Why United Way page to learn more about how this process directly aligns with the United Way's vision. Also, check out specific elements of a strong action agenda.

Additionally, your United Way is situated in a position to integrate current movements in the out-of-school field into the discussion around the creation of an action agenda. It is imperative to consider the context and the broader Out-of-School Time landscape when developing this action plan, so explore the Featured Topics page to stay informed on the current trends in the field, including STEAM, Literacy, Mentoring, Summer Learning, Common Core, and more! And you can head to the Learning Modules to learn about creating action agendas in more detail.

Create a Strong Plan of Action!

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