Helping to reconnect youth back to education and employment and get them on a path to a successful transition to adulthood that includes economic self-sufficiency, skills that support independent living and improved health, mental health and well-being can be challenging. Youth development stakeholders and beneficiaries (i.e., the youth themselves) describe significant challenges that hinder meaningful improvements in education, employment, health and well-being outcomes.
There is no question that I am a fan of out-of-school time (OST) systems — data-driven, coordinated community-level efforts to improve access to quality before and after school and summer learning experiences. Just check my track record to know I have helped incubate dozens of them across the country, both as part of The Wallace Foundation team as well as a Big Picture Approach consultant with the Forum for Youth Investment.
How can schools and youth development organizations better align to increase their communities' understanding of the importance of focusing on the whole learner? Broaden access to high-quality learning opportunities that support comprehensive development? Strengthen adult social and emotional learning practice?
Being disconnected, out of school and unemployed as a young person is potentially traumatic. These experiences can have lasting impacts on income, employability, health and well-being. The effects grow the longer a young person is disconnected. And the effects linger over time.
We have 40 years of evidence that shows us how learning happens but what’s next? How can students benefit from this knowledge? How can we continuously improve quality in learning settings to support social, emotional and academic development? In this brief video, the Forum for Youth Investment's CEO and co-founder Karen Pittman delves into these topics.