Education

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development/GreatSchools Partnership – Coordinating Housing Assistance with Educational Opportunities

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has partnered with GreatSchools, a national non-profit educational resource for parents, to provide their free

Third Annual Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention Summit

The Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention convened a summit to highlight some of the work that has been done to prevent bullying while also challenging everyone—including schools, and students—to do more to address this issue.

Secretary Duncan Hosts First Meeting with National Council of Young Leaders

The National Council of Young Leaders is a newly established council with a diverse group of young people.  The council, which launched on September 19, has 14 founding members ranging in ages 18-34, representing both urban and rural low- income areas, who advise policy makers, business leaders and foundations on issues affecting low-income youth and their communities.

Stopping the Summer Slide with Energy Express

Under the leadership of the West Virginia University Extension 4-H Youth Development, Energy Express is a research based summer reading and nutrition program for children living in rural and low-income West Virginia. AmeriCorps has been Energy Express’s largest funder and source of volunteers since 1995. According to one of its youth participants, Energy Express is “awesome and fun.”

Students weigh in on 2020 College Completion Goal

President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan have an ambitious agenda to create a world class education system, and lead the world in college completion.

The Youth Career Café - Empowering Youth to Succeed in the Real World

Youth Career Cafés are places in the Virginia cities of Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson, and Williamsburg, and the counties of Gloucester, James City, and York where youth learn to navigate the business world and see how their education is relevant to the real world. The Cafés’ purpose is to provide resources to help young people develop workplace readiness skills, make career goals, and identify post-secondary options that match those career goals.

Civic Engagement

Civic engagement involves “working to make a difference in the civic life of one’s community and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference. It means promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes.”1 Civic engagement includes both paid and unpaid forms of political activism, environmentalism, and community and national service.2 Volunteering, national service, and service-learning are all forms of civic engagement.

According to the 2006 National Civic and Political Health Survey, seven percent of 15- to 25-year-old Americans participated in 10 or more community engagement or political activities within the previous year.3 When compared to their peers who report no civic engagement activities, this group was more likely to be African-American, urban, attend church regularly, from a family with parents who volunteer, a current student (in college or high school), and from college-educated home.4

AmeriCorps (formerly the Corporation for National and Community Service, or CNCS) is a federal agency that sends people power and funding to communities across the country for causes such as disaster response, opioid crisis, and education.

Participation in civic engagement activities can help youth become better informed about current events. For example, according to the 2006 National Civic and Political Health Survey, approximately a quarter of youth who had not participated in civic engagement activities within the last year did not answer any questions regarding current politics correctly.5

Definition and Constructs

Youth civic engagement is defined as working to make a difference in the civic life of one’s community. It also involves developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values, and motivation to make that difference.6 These activities enrich the lives of youths and are socially beneficial to the community. Four interrelated constructs have been identified in the research literature as necessary for civic engagement (see Figure 1).

FIGURE 1: FOUR CONSTRUCTS OF CIVIC ENGAGEMENT

Four Constructs of Civic Engagement: Civic Action, Civic Commitment or Duty, Civic Skills, Social Cohesion

Volunteering is only one form of civic engagement included, as defined above, in the construct of civic action and civic commitment or duty, but research has also shown a connection between youth who volunteer and other forms of youth civic engagement. Findings suggest that “among youth, volunteering plays a valuable role in shaping how youth learn to interact with their community and develop the skills, values, and sense of empowerment necessary to become active citizens.”7

While many youth volunteer, most young people do not see a connection between volunteering and political engagement or activism. In the 2006 National Civic and Political Health Survey, the majority of young people said that they volunteered in order to help others, not to address a social or political problem. Only six percent of youth believed that their volunteering was a means to address social or political problems.8

Another possible form of civic action and civic commitment and duty is service-learning. According to the American Psychological Association,9 service-learning and civic engagement can be related but are not the same thing. Service-learning does not have to include a civic dimension and all forms of civic engagement are not service-learning. Civic engagement is a broader concept that may encompass, but is not limited to, service-learning. Service-learning differs from community service or volunteerism in two distinct ways:

  • The service activity is integrated with academic curriculum and content.
  • Students engage in reflection activities after their service experience and apply their learning in real-life activities.10

Resources

Character and Civic Education
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools’ Character and Civic Education group administers various programs in character and civics education. These programs include providing financial assistance for character and citizenship education activities in elementary and secondary schools and institutions of higher education, and reporting on issues and programs, disseminating information, and providing technical assistance to state agencies and state and local correctional institutions.

AmeriCorps (Formerly the Corporation for National and Community Service, CNCS)
AmeriCorps was created (as CNCS) as an independent agency of the United States government by the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993. AmeriCorps brings people together to tackle the country’s most pressing challenges, through national service and volunteering.

Helping Your Child Become a Responsible Citizen (PDF, 43 Pages)
This resource from the U.S. Department of Education provides information about the values and skills that contribute to character and good citizenship, including guidance on what parents can do to help their elementary-, middle-, and high school-aged children develop strong character.

How to Plan and Implement an Anti-Racist Service Project
The YSA Knowledge Center, under a grant from the Serve.gov, provides downloadable resources and video trainings to take service projects from idea to action through the project planning steps of investigation, preparation and planning, action, reflection, and demonstration/celebration.

References

1 Erlich, 2000
2 Michelsen, Zaff, & Hair, 2002
3 Lopez, Levine, Both, Kiesa, Kirby, & Marcelo, 2006
4 Dávila & Mora, 2007
5 Dávila & Mora, 2007
6 Erlich, 2000
7 AmeriCorps, 2005
8 Lopez, Levine, Both, Kiesa, Kirby, & Marcelo, 2006
9 American Psychological Association, 2010
10 College of Southern Maryland, 2010

Afterschool Programs

Afterschool programs (sometimes called OST or Out-of-School Time programs) serve children and youth of all ages. These programs encompass a broad range of focus areas including academic support, mentoring, positive youth development, arts, sports and recreation, apprenticeships, workforce development programs, and programs for opportunity youth (i.e., youth not in schools or the workforce) and homeless youth.

The activities children and youth engage in outside of school hours are critical to their overall development, highlighting the need for quality afterschool programs in all communities. The demand for afterschool programs is strong, with nearly 10.2 million children and youth who participate in afterschool programs annually,1 across 10 million in summer camps and 6 million in 4-H programs, alone.2

Federal agencies, state-level resources, community organizations, and local and national philanthropies can provide support and resources to build, sustain, and ensure access to high-quality afterschool programs that can help promote positive outcomes for youth. Explore the articles and links on this topic to learn more about afterschool programs. Resources are also provided to help navigate challenges in planning and implementing afterschool programs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Resources

Preparing K-12 School Administrators for a Safe Return to School in Fall 2020
This webpage from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides practical guidance intended to aid school administrators as they consider how to protect the health, safety, and wellbeing of students, teachers, other school staff, their families, and communities in fall 2020.

Suggestions for Youth and Summer Camps
This webpage from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides practical guidance and resources for camp staff to use while planning and implementing camps safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Afterschool & Summer in the Time of COVID-19
This webpage from the Afterschool Alliance provides information on how afterschool programs nationwide are responding to the impact of COVID-19 and offers a Statewide Afterschool Networks Resources map for each state.

Afterschool Alliance
This website from the Afterschool Alliance provides information, resources, and timely resources on planning for, implementing, and funding afterschool programs.

Afterschool Alliance Research
This webpage from the Afterschool Alliance provides reports, issue briefs, fact sheets and other resources that show how afterschool programs are keeping children and youth safe, inspiring learning, and helping working families across the country.

Afterschool in the Time of COVID-19 (PDF, 4 pages)
This factsheet from the Afterschool Alliance presents findings from the first of a series of surveys meant to “take the pulse” of afterschool programs in the U.S.

National Afterschool Association
The National Afterschool Association website provides afterschool professionals a wide range of tools and resources designed to promote professional development and strengthen afterschool programs.

References

1 Afterschool Alliance, 2014
2 Yohalem, Pittman, & Edwards, 2010

Opportunity Youth

Opportunity youth are young people who are between the ages of 16 to 24 years old and are disconnected from school and work. This developmental time period, also referred to as emerging adulthood,[1] has great potential for individual growth through exploring independence and life opportunities. It is a critical window of opportunity for youth and young adults to gain an education and/or training that would “…provide the foundation for their occupational trajectories during the rest of their adulthood.”[2] This can include developing knowledge, skills, and character traits that are important for opportunity youth’s career pathway development.

Life circumstances, such as where someone lives or income level, can disrupt youth’s ability to explore and pursue different careers. Opportunity youth often face hardships, but they also report having feelings of responsibility for their futures, having educational and career goals, and being optimistic about achieving their goals.[3] To most effectively reach out to opportunity youth, it is important to understand who is disconnected; why they are disconnected; how to authentically engage opportunity youth as leaders; and what programming and resources are currently available to individuals, parents/guardians, and organizations that work with opportunity youth.

Resources

Maximizing Federal Funds to Support Opportunity Youth (PDF, 27 pages)
This report from the Aspen Forum for Community Solutions summarizes major federal funding streams resources that can help support opportunity youth. Additionally, the document reports on the difficulties in accessing these resources and impressions on methods to simplify the process. An executive summary (PDF, 4 pages) of the report is also available.

Opportunity Youth Playbook: A Guide to Reconnecting Boys and Young Men of Color to Education and Employment
Developed by the Opportunity Youth Network, this playbook highlights promising practices, strategies, and resources to help communities support boys and young men of color who are opportunity youth. It considers their distinct talents and needs and uplifts strategies beyond those targeted to boys and young men of color more generally.

 

[1] Arnett, 2000

[2] Mendelson, Mmari, Blum, Catalano, & Brindis, 2018, p.54S; Lewis, 2019

[3] Bridgeland & Milano, 2012

Navicate

Navicate (formerly Linking Learning to Life, Inc.) is non-profit organization that acts as both a direct service program operator and an intermediary that supports a collaboration of schools, businesses, colleges, and other organizations to foster opportunities for community service, leadership development, career and college exploration, internships, and employment for youth in Vermont as they transition from school to careers and postsecondary education. Navicate started as a local collaboration and it is now supporting programs and partnerships across Vermont.