This book examines after-school programs in light of their explosive growth in recent years. In the rush to mount programs, there is a danger of promoting weak ones of little value and failing to implement strong ones adequately. But what is quality and how can it be achieved? This book presents findings from an intensive study of three after-school centers that differed dramatically in quality. Drawing from 233 site visits, the authors examine how - and why - young people thrive in good programs and suffer in weak ones. The book features engaging, in-depth case studies of each of the three centers and of six youths, two from each center. Written in a highly accessible style for academics, youth workers, after-school program leaders and policy makers, the study breaks new ground in highlighting the importance of factors such as collective mentoring, synergies among different programs and activities, and organizational culture and practices.
Barton J. Hirsch is Professor of Human Development and Social Policy at Northwestern University. An internationally recognized authority on after-school programs and positive youth development, his earlier book, A Place to Call Home: After-School Programs for Urban Youth, won the Social Policy Award for Best Authored Book from the Society for Research on Adolescence. Nancy L. Deutsch is Associate Professor of Educational Leadership and Foundations at the University of Virginia's Curry School of Education and Associate Director for Methodology at Youth-NEX, University of Virginia's Center for Effective Youth Development. A scholar of the socio-ecological contexts of development, she is the author of Pride in the Projects: Teens Building Identities in Urban Contexts. David L. DuBois is Professor in the Division of Community Health Sciences within the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois, Chicago. His research focuses on youth mentoring relationships and programs for positive youth development. He is the co-editor of the Handbook of Youth Mentoring, which received the Social Policy Award for Best Edited Book from the Society for Research on Adolescence.
Part I. Introduction: 1. The quality of after-school centers; Part II. Midwest Center: 2. Pockets of excellence; 3. Pocahontas joins the tribe; 4. Bill: the pros and cons of being one of the guys; 5. Putting it all together: Midwest Center; Part III. North River Center: 6. A study of organizational dysfunction; 7. Undercutting Tweetie: the trials and tribulations of a youth leader; 8. Beyonce: a good friend is hard to find (and keep); 9. Putting it all together: North River and Midwest Centers; Part IV. West River Center: 10. The jewel in the crown; 11. Midnight: a teen father stays the course; 12. Tommiana: a contest between closeness and competition; 13. Putting it all together: what have we learned?; Part V. Conclusion: 14. Recommendations for improving practice.