Welcome to my new blog! I am a bit embarrassed to admit that not long ago I didn’t even know what a blog was. But luckily I have the full 20 volumes of the Oxford English Dictionary in my house, so I can look up the word ‘blog’. I have become educated and enlightened! Now I understand that a blog is a tool for communicating and engaging with people all across America and the world.
I decided to launch this blog so that I can share my thoughts, reflections and ideas as I work to make Afterschool Development a household name and a leading approach to social development and a new way of engaging poverty.
I will also be inviting guest bloggers to share their thoughts and ideas.
In mid-September, the All Stars Project conducted some fascinating research. We provided direction to a Harris Poll, which asked American adults what they believe poor inner-city youth most need to succeed in their lives. The poll offered many choices, like team sports, a longer school day, social-emotional skills and remedial afterschool programs, among others. Among the findings:
- The top response among 3 in 4 Americans is a focus on life skills (e.g., communication, teamwork, social/emotional skills).
- The second top response noted among almost 2 in 3 Americans is experience in the workplace (e.g., afterschool jobs).
- Surprisingly, the vast majority of Americans (75%) do not support the extension of the school year and day, despite the policies currently in place in dozens of cities across the nation.
- In fact, the lower the income bracket, the lower the percentage of respondents who support this direction for dealing with the issues facing poor inner-city kids.
It is fascinating how smart Americans are…and how far ahead of our government and its policies! In cities across America like Newark, New Jersey, where All Stars has a vibrant Center for Afterschool Development, extending the school day has been adopted as the policy for fixing the deeply troubled public education system.
Meanwhile our poll indicates that Americans do not believe “more school” is a successful strategy for creating success in the lives of inner city youth. All the same, a leading afterschool network in New York City has revamped their mission turning afterschool into Extended Learning Time, in a case of government funding dictating policy.
In my monthly blog, I will shine a light on new solutions, on outside the box players and on true innovations being employed all over the country. Yes, there is a fundamental shift happening. A shift towards creativity and performance based approaches that bring diverse people together (rich and poor; black, Hispanic, Asian and white; even cops and kids) and enable them to create something positive and new.