Recognizing the Role of Afterschool and Summer Programs and Systems in Reopening and Rebuilding

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Research suggests that all people—children, youth, and adults—thrive in safe, supportive environments that are developmentally rich and identity-safe, characterized by positive relationships and relevant opportunities to learn and grow. The need for safety, support, and trusting, reciprocal relationships becomes even more important now as we work to rebuild and return stronger than before COVID-19.

Afterschool and summer programs play an essential role in our country’s efforts to reopen and rebuild in partnership with youth, families, and the community because they (1) provide safe, developmentally rich settings for learning and development; (2) are seen as trusted partners by families and communities; and (3) have connections to other supports and services that schools and families need.

This resource describes the role that afterschool and summer programs and systems can play and offers strategies for afterschool and summer programs and school leaders to work together in support of youth, families, and the community.