Building Public Will for Afterschool

Mayors and city councilmembers play a critical role in building public will and support for afterschool. Just as schools cannot educate alone, neither can municipal officials support youth in the afterschool hours alone. It takes a community effort bringing together the leadership, voices, expertise and resources from all sectors in a community.

The afterschool hours from 3pm - 6pm also represent a genuine opportunity for municipal leaders to rally the entire community around the goals of keeping children and youth safe and engaged, while also helping to advance a number of other key city priorities.

Mayors, councilmembers and other municipal leaders increasingly recognize that afterschool programs can help meet multiple city goals - improving public safety and health, supporting the city's education system, preparing the future workforce and supporting working families, contributing to economic development - all of which improve a city's economic vitality and overall quality of life. Municipal leaders also understand that in addition to academic content, tomorrow's citizens and workers will need a comprehensive set of "21st century skills" that emphasize problem solving, collaboration, use of technology and creative thinking, and that afterschool programs are uniquely suited to develop these skills.

City officials are well positioned to support the development of strong partnerships with key sectors of the community to increase the number and quality of afterschool programs. NLC recently published a strategy guide that highlights three key strategies that mayors and other city leaders can use to promote partnerships and build public will in support of afterschool programs:

  • Engage and involve a broad set of partners to take full advantage of all community resources;
  • Keep afterschool on the public agenda; and
  • Lead efforts by city, school and community leaders to establish a common set of outcomes and a shared vision for a broad set of afterschool opportunities.

See video below of former Mayor David Cicilline of Providence, RI who made afterschool a top priority and supports efforts of the Providence After School Alliance.