How to Support Afterschool Programs in Your City


  • Brandis Stockman
August 14, 2023 - (3 min read)

For years, afterschool programs have kept youth safe, inspired them to learn, provided enriching opportunities, and helped working families. Today, during a time when many youth and families are struggling to recover from the impacts of the pandemic, these programs are needed more than ever. Despite this high need, many youth don’t have access to high-quality afterschool programs, particularly those living in underserved communities. According to the recent America After 3PM report, unmet demand for afterschool programs has skyrocketed. For every child in an afterschool program, three are waiting to get in – this equates to over 25 million youth across the country.

Research indicates that youth attending high-quality afterschool programs show gains in academic performance, school day attendance, behavior, and mental health. This can, in turn, impact high school graduation rates, post-secondary degree attainment, career opportunities, community health and wellness, and financial well-being. And voters agree that afterschool programs can have a significant impact in communities – support for afterschool programs is at an all-time high, with 81% of voters in 2022 reporting that expanding access to programs should be a priority.

NLC has supported city leaders in bringing afterschool programs to their communities for over 20 years. If you aren’t sure where to start, would like more information about existing program collaboration and sustainability, would like to learn about some of the related research, and are interested in hearing about ways to fund these programs in your community, join NLC and the American Institutes for Research in an upcoming webinar, “How to Support Afterschool Programs in Your Community”. This webinar will discuss what the terms “high-quality” and “comprehensive” afterschool programs refer to and how to bring or expand access to these programs in your city. Of particular interest to many city leaders will be hearing from the Honorable Mayor Jeff Silvestrini of Millcreek, Utah, who will discuss his approach to implementing a citywide system of youth programs on a limited budget. 

In addition, city leaders can support afterschool programs by signing on as an ally or by pledging to the Engage Every Student initiative, a bold call to action from Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to provide high-quality afterschool and summer learning programs for every child who wants to participate. Cities can also host or support Lights On Afterschool events in recognition of the importance of afterschool programs nationwide.

City leaders have a vital role to play in helping their community’s youth recover from the pandemic, and supporting high-quality afterschool programs can pave a path forward toward a promising future for all residents.

Upcoming Webinar: How to Support Afterschool Programs in Your Community

Join NLC, the American Institutes for Research, and fellow city leaders to learn about the research behind high-quality afterschool programs, discuss how city leaders can lead or support these efforts, and explore ways to build sustainable systems through partnerships and funding.

August 22, 2023, 1:00pm – 2:15pm

About the Author

Brandis Stockman

About the Author

Brandis Stockman is the Program Manager Education and Expanded Learning for the Center for Leadership, Education, Advancement & Development at the National League of Cities.