Engaging Older Youth: Program and City-Level Strategies to Support Sustained Participation in Out-of-School Time

by Amy Arbreton; Sarah N. Deschenes; Jean Baldwin Grossman; Carla Herrera; Diana Lee; Priscilla M. Little; Heather B. Weiss

Apr 1, 2010
With support from The Wallace Foundation, the Harvard Family Research Project and P/PV conducted a study of almost 200 out-of-school-time (OST) programs in six cities to better understand how they promote sustained participation among older youth.The resulting data indicated that two of the most important practices distinguishing high-retention programs were: ample leadership opportunities for youth and high levels of staff efforts to keep informed about participants' lives outside the programs. The study also compares and contrasts effective practices for middle school- versus high school-aged youth, noting the shortcomings of "one-size-fits-all" strategies. Finally, Engaging Older Youth details the influence of city-level OST initiatives on programs and identifies the types of city-level services that likely support participation.
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