Although the middle school years are a particularly challenging period for many youths, it’s also a time when their participation in afterschool activities dramatically falls. To address that problem, Providence, R.I., developed a citywide afterschool initiative for middle school youngsters called the AfterZone initiative, according to this first of two reports on the effort. Services were offered at multiple sites, integrating as many as 100 of the city’s afterschool providers into a network with a coordinated schedule and centralized registration process. The effort emphasized continuous quality improvement and worked closely with the mayor and leaders of the city’s public and private youth-serving agencies.
According to the report, the program has made “enormous progress,” enrolling nearly half the students targeted. However, long-term financing remains a challenge.
The report is the first of two studies looking at the AfterZone effort.