The goal was to develop and support after-school programming strategies that capitalize on the strengths of young people, families and communities. The initiative provided funding, training and tailored technical assistance services to 34 grantee after-school programs across the state. In each program, emphasis was placed on three main goals: positive youth development strategies, cultural competency development (for both staff and program activities) and partnerships designed to foster stronger adult and youth engagement, as well as support for the program. The initiative, in part, also led to the development of the Colorado AfterSchool Network, a statewide network that provides ongoing support for after-school programs.
- Adams 12 Five-Star Schools
- Archuleta County Education Center
- Asian Pacific Development Center
- Aspen Ballet Company and School
- Black Canyon Boys and Girls Club
- Boys and Girls Club of Pueblo County and Lower Arkansas Valley
- Canon City Metro Park and Recreation
- City of Cripple Creek Park and Recreation
- City of Longmont - Division of Youth Services
- Colorado Foundation for Families and Children
- Colorado Springs Assets for Youth and Colorado Springs Park, Recreation and Cultural Services
- Colorado State University Cooperative Extension
- Community Health Education Services - Jammin' in Northeast Denver
- Cross Community Coalition
- Dolores County Broadcast Network
- Durango Latino Education Coalition
- Escuela Tlatelolco
- Estes Valley Recreation and Park District
- Fishers Peak YMCA
- Jewish Community Center of Denver
- La Plata Family Centers Coalition/SUCAP
- Lake County School District
- Mercy Housing Southwest
- Montrose Memorial Hospital/Teaching Prevention Promoting Inclusion and Valley-wide Health Services, Inc.
- Mesa County Department of Human Services After-school Programs
- Metro Black Church Initiative
- Mi Amigo - Valle de Sol
- Mile High United Way
- Park County RE-2 School District
- Pikes Peak YMCA
- Plateau School District RE-5
- St. Andrew Avellino Youth Guild
- University of Denver Bridge Project
- Ute Mountain Ute Tribe
The independent evaluation (full report and summary/brief available for download), which was conducted by the National Research Center, shows that the After-School Initiative served more than 12,000 diverse youth across the state. Through the evaluation, youth reported improvements in their positive life choices, sense of self, core values, cultural competency, life skills, community involvement and academic success as a result of participating in the after-school programs. The programs that reported the greatest improvements in these areas were those that did the best job of using positive youth development strategies (focusing on the positive skills, relationships and self-perceptions of young people, rather than a “deficit focus”—behaviors that need to be changed in youth). The evaluation clearly demonstrated that youth participants believed that the time they spent in these after-school programs was not just fun, but transforming. Youth reported that the staff and activities were responsible for their improved core values, including honesty, empathy, and concern for equality and justice. Youth stated that the after-school programs they attended helped their self-confidence and sense of purpose.
Additionally, The After-School Initiative Toolkit for Evaluating Positive Youth Development, which was developed through this evaluation, provided grantees and other after-school providers with a collection of instruments that continues to allow them to tailor evaluations to measure the effectiveness of their programs.
Perhaps of greatest importance to school districts, government entities and law enforcement, these youth, in anonymous surveys, reported being better able to avoid trouble that might lead to violence or other forms of delinquency. Again, all of these positive findings, even the reported reduction in delinquent behaviors, occurred in the highest proportions among programs that provided the strongest emphasis on positive youth development strategies.