Spread your wings

“My afterschool program has given me the opportunity to see a new world, not just going home, doing chores, taking care of kids, helping my mom. It allows me to be creative, to explore, to imagine something different for myself.” - Chandra

“Youth in Action, it’s my second home. I’ve learned about issues like school reform and violence prevention. I’ve lobbied City Hall. I’ve grown so much by being here.” - Esan

Over 70 studies suggest that students who participate in afterschool and summer programs have a leg up, when it comes to college. They get a chance to excel outside the classroom, develop interests and talents, learn teamwork and competition, practice leadership, and contribute to their community. Students often find their passion in these out-of-school programs. It’s also a good way to build relationships with caring adults. And it can be just plain fun.

Most communities offer a range of afterschool and summer programs. The Y and Boys & Girls Clubs are growing new programs for teens that are worth a look. There are small nonprofits where you can make art, learn video, practice spoken word, and more.

For low-income students, the federal government offers several academic enrichment programs. Upward Bound may be the best known.

And there are always volunteer opportunities.

Unfortunately, school counselors and teachers often don’t know much about afterschool and summer programs. Still, try to enlist a teacher or counselor’s help: tell them what you have in mind and ask them to see what opportunities they can uncover. Or recruit a group of friends and create your own list of opportunities, then circulate it around your school.


Some leads

Go online to look up local YMCA, Boys & Girls Club, 4-H (if you’re not in a big city) to see what they have to offer.

Find out if there’s an Upward Bound summer program near you. Google “Upward Bound + [where you live]”

“youth programs + [where you live]”
“summer camps + [where you live]”
“volunteer opportunities for teens + [where you live]” 

See what’s listed for your location on the national directory of college access programs:

Call your local United Way, and ask to speak with someone who knows about afterschool and summer programs for teens. 

Find out if your city or town has a community foundation. If so, follow the same directions as for the United Way.

Ditto for calling a member of your town or city council. 

Note: In all three of these cases, the very fact that you called may alert community leaders to the need for more out-of-school opportunities for youth.

  NEXT (Do the research)
Home  |  Videos  |  Planning Checklists  |  Useful Links  |  BOOKS  |  Downloads for Advisors & Parents  |  About UsIntroduction.htmlVideos.htmlPlanning_checklist.htmlLinks.htmlBOOKS.htmlDownloads.htmlAbout_Us.htmlshapeimage_5_link_0shapeimage_5_link_1shapeimage_5_link_2shapeimage_5_link_3shapeimage_5_link_4shapeimage_5_link_5shapeimage_5_link_6