Afterschool

Afterschool Programs

Afterschool programs (sometimes called OST or Out-of-School Time) serve children and youth of all ages, and encompass a broad range of focus areas including academic support, mentoring, youth development, arts, and sports and recreation. The activities in which children and youth engage while outside of school hours are critical to their development, highlighting the need for quality afterschool programs in all communities. The demand for afterschool programs is strong; current estimates suggest that nearly 10 million children and youth participate in afterschool programs annually, 10 million in summer camps, and 6 million in 4-H programs alone (Yohalem, Pittman, and Edwards, 2010).

High quality afterschool programs generate positive outcomes for youth including improved academic performance, classroom behavior, and health and nutrition. Communities and businesses also benefit when youth have safe and productive ways to spend their time while their parents are at work. Several Federal agencies provide support and resources to afterschool programs to help promote positive outcomes for youth. Explore the articles and links on this page to learn more about afterschool.


Yohalem, N., Pittman, K., & Edwards, S. (2010).  Strengthening the youth development/after-school workforce: Lessons learned and implications for funders. Washington, DC: The Forum for Youth Investment and Cornerstones for Kids.

Youth-produced Media in Community Change Efforts

Drawing on a larger evaluation of the Sierra Health Foundation's REACH youth program, this issue brief examines best practices for using youth-produced media as part of a community change effort.

Using Camp to Bolster Youth-driven Community Change

Drawing on a larger evaluation of the Sierra Health Foundation's REACH youth program, this issue brief describes how a summer camp experience can be used as a strategy to support a community change initiative.

Toward Making Good on All Youth

Drawing on a larger evaluation of the Sierra Health Foundation's REACH youth program, this issue brief examines ways to engage underrepresented youth populations in community youth development. A set of key principles is developed based on lessons from field research. 

Quality Rating Systems and the Impact on Quality in Early Care and Education Settings

A quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) is a systemic approach to assess, improve, and communicate the level of quality in early and school-age care and education programs. This site provides a sample of resources with research about the impact of QRIS on early and school-age care.

Municipal Leadership for Afterschool: Citywide Approaches Spreading across the Country

This report identifies cities that have worked to coordinate afterschool opportunities for children and youth.  These cities have made a shift in their approach to afterschool programming, moving from management and funding of isolated programs toward in-depth coordination among city, school and nonprofit providers.

Engaging Parents in a Community Youth Development Initiative

Drawing on a larger evaluation of the Sierra Health Foundation's REACH youth program, this issue brief describes lessons learned about how to best engage parents in a community youth development initiative. It emphasizes the benefits of engaging parents who are not typically well connected to schools or other community institutions, including those who do not speak English. 

Engaging Youth in Community Change

This report provides lessons learned from comparing how seven communities engaged youth in community change efforts in the greater Sacramento region. It provides an introduction to the goals of the Sierra Health Foundation's REACH youth development program, documents program outcomes for individual youth and adults, organizations, and communities, and draws lessons for coalition development, youth engagement practice, and foundation practices to support community youth development.

Benefits and Challenges in Building a Community Youth Development Coalition

Drawing on a broader evaluation of the Sierra Health Foundation's REACH youth program, this issue brief describes lessons learned about how to build a community coalition that engages youth and adults together in working toward community change.

A Resource Guide for Planning and Operating Afterschool Programs (3rd Edition)

This resource guide describes readily available and inexpensive resources that support afterschool programs. Topics include management, communication, programming, community building and collaboration, and developing connections between K12 educational and afterschool programs.