After-School Centers and Youth Development

After-School Centers and Youth Development : Case Studies of Success and Failure

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This book examines after-school programs in light of their explosive growth in recent years. In the rush to mount programs, there is a danger of promoting weak ones of little value and failing to implement strong ones adequately. But what is quality and how can it be achieved? This book presents findings from an intensive study of three after-school centers that differed dramatically in quality. Drawing from 233 site visits, the authors examine how - and why - young people thrive in good programs and suffer in weak ones. The book features engaging, in-depth case studies of each of the three centers and of six youths, two from each center. Written in a highly accessible style for academics, youth workers, after-school program leaders and policy makers, the study breaks new ground in highlighting the importance of factors such as collective mentoring, synergies among different programs and activities, and organizational culture and practices.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 1 b/w illus. 8 tables
  • 1139125745
  • 9781139125741

Review quote

"This book does a superb job of showing us the difference between what high quality and low quality organizations for youth look like, from the inside out, from the administrative style of the director down to the smallest daily interactions between youth and staff."
- Reed Larson, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign "Hisrsch, Deutsch, and DuBois bring much needed precision to the study of after-school programs. Other studies have shown that program quality varies and demonstrated that quality matters. By focusing on three similar programs, this book tells us how they vary and chronicles the impact these differences have on individual youth. The conceptual framework is powerful in its practical simplicity. The case studies' dual depiction of the organizations and two of their youths makes this a page turner. The recommendations for improved practice are fresh and specific, and having innovative practices such as collective mentoring and youth councils on the list will propel the field into some overdue discussions. They have definitely turned the lights on in the after-school 'black box."
- Karen Pittman, CEO of The Forum for Youth Investment "...The authors' description of the organizational and interpersonal dynamics in the three clubs in their book will have strong appeal and value to researchers and practitioners interested in ideas for improving the quality of after-school centers for today's adolescents.... Hirsch, Deutsch, and DuBois have provided dramatic evidence for motivating improvements in the organizational cultures of after-school centers so that staff members can say wholeheartedly, "It's all about the kids."
- Patricia Ashton, University of Florida, PsycCRITIQUES "...We recommend After-School Centers and Youth Development as valuable reading for anyone concerned with youth development and youth programs. The book is at once soundly grounded in research, while also providing vivid stories that illustrate the enormous range of real-life dynamics in youth organizations. For policy makers and researchers, it is a wake-up call for the importance of a holistic perspective. For undergraduate and graduate students, the book can serve as an effective text that will spark critical conversations tied to theory, management, and child development. For practitioners, the final chapter provides reasonable recommendations on ways of instituting strategies to create a synergistic organization that reverberates high quality and addresses disorder on all levels."
-Aisha Griffith and Reed Larson, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Social Service Review,
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Table of contents

Part I. Introduction: 1. The quality of after-school centers; Part II. Midwest Center: 2. Pockets of excellence; 3. Pocahontas joins the tribe; 4. Bill: the pros and cons of being one of the guys; 5. Putting it all together: Midwest Center; Part III. North River Center: 6. A study of organizational dysfunction; 7. Undercutting Tweetie: the trials and tribulations of a youth leader; 8. Beyonce: a good friend is hard to find (and keep); 9. Putting it all together: North River and Midwest Centers; Part IV. West River Center: 10. The jewel in the crown; 11. Midnight: a teen father stays the course; 12. Tommiana: a contest between closeness and competition; 13. Putting it all together: what have we learned?; Part V. Conclusion: 14. Recommendations for improving practice.
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