Program Management


Indoor & Outdoor Environments

The Genius of Play’s STEAM Playbook!

The National Girls Collaborative Project partnered with The Genius of Play to create a collection of play ideas and ready-to-use activities to help spark a child’s interest in STEAM subjects. 

Virtual Field Trip Curricula for Afterschool Providers

ACT Now’s Fall 2021 Intern Rhianna Sherlock recently developed a resource for afterschool providers highlighting high-quality virtual field trip ideas. All of the resources are free and they cover topics including social-emotional learning, STEM, and mental and physical health.

American Camp Association Document: Updated Field Guide for Camps

The American Camp Association (ACA) in partnership with the Environmental Health & Engineering, Inc. (EH&H) has updated and revised the Field Guide for Camps for afterschool and summer learning providers. There is a new chapter on vaccines that offers providers background information on the type of COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States. The document also offers insight into the potential impacts on camp operations. To read the updated guidance, click here.

Transforming Youth Outdoors (TYO)

TYO curates, organizes, and maintains an ever-growing collection of resources including knowledge, best practices, practical tools, and guidance, that help the members of our community deliver impactful outdoor programming to the youth they service. If you’re working with young people who are hoping to establish a career in the outdoors, check out TYO’s tips on how to explore opportunities in outdoor recreation and conservation by clicking here.

The Children & Nature Network

The Children and Nature Network offers resources for parents and teachers to learn more about what outdoor education is. Visit the tools and resources page here to access PDFs, videos, and more that can help create an outdoor educational curriculum.




Family and Community Partnerships

U.S. Department of Education Checklist for Back-to-School

Recently, the U.S. Department of Education released a back-to-school checklist for parents and families. This resource looks to help parents, caregivers, and families engage with local school and district leaders about how they are supporting students as they recover from the impacts of the pandemic. “This checklist elevates key evidence-based practices for supporting students’ learning and mental health, and ensuring the safety of students and staff, which districts are encouraged to implement using American Rescue Plan and other COVID relief funds.”

Community Services Block Grant Scholarships 

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Family & Support Services (DFSS) are soliciting applications for the Community Services Block Grant Scholarships! This initiative seeks to support City of Chicago residents looking to continue their education. The deadline to apply is August 26, 2022, at 12:00 a.m. 

Families in Chicago Highlight Difficulties Finding Child Care During the Summer Chalkbeat Chicago recently asked families to share their child care plans for the summer and wrote an article reflecting some of the challenges in accessing affordable and inclusive programs.
Leveraging AmeriCorps Volunteers in Afterschool Programming

The Afterschool Alliance has a blog post with examples of afterschool providers that have hired AmeriCorps volunteers to help facilitate or expand programming. AmeriCorps continues to be a great opportunity for programs that are confronting staff shortages.



Navigating Rejection When Asking to Partner and Leverage ARP Funding

The Afterschool Alliance released a toolkit to help afterschool programs and community-based organizations (CBOs) navigate responses (no’s) and continue the conversation around partnership and sustainability of funding for youth development services.

What Young People Want from Afterschool Programs

In this article from the Wallace Foundation, Jane Quinn, an expert in afterschool and out-of-school time (OST) with more than five decades of experience, shares how the quality of programs can be optimized to improve attendance. She specifically highlights what 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) can do to improve programming.

Professional Development Guides for Afterschool Providers

The National Partnership for Quality Afterschool Learning developed professional development guides for literacy, math, technology, and the arts specifically for afterschool program staff. 

Toolbox for Afterschool Programs!

The Afterschool Alliance developed a toolkit that is designed to provide guidance to new, existing, and growing programs. The toolkit features guides, tools, case studies, and best practices from experts!

More Play Time for Pre-K

Advance Illinois published an article about the importance of play in Pre-K.  The pandemic has had a significant impact on children’s social skills, making play more important than ever. The article noted that one sign of quality play is when children are interacting with materials and peers and are given different options for activities. 

Making Youth Feel Welcome!


Edutopia published an article discussing ways to make each student feel a sense of belonging in classroom environments. The article noted that one of the most powerful levers to increase student engagement and amplify learning is to ensure that learning experiences are reflective of students’ lives.

Free Learning Resources for Native American Heritage Month


November is Native American Heritage Month and to help you celebrate Common Sense Education compiled a list of resources for educators. These resources were predominantly developed by or in partnership with Native people and/or tribal organizations and nations. 

Technology in Early Childhood Education


Edutopia published a blog that discussed when educators should use technology in early childhood education. The article explained that when technology is used in a meaningful way it can be used to address specific learning goals. 

Bipartisan Support for Afterschool Programming


The Afterschool Alliance published a brief discussing the bipartisan support of afterschool programs across the United States. They conducted a survey of approximately 1,500 parents and found that parents who identify as Democrats, Independents, and Republicans continue to voice agreement that all young people deserve access to quality afterschool and summer programs through the pandemic.

Overcoming Chronic Absenteeism


The Learning Policy Institute published a blog stressing the importance attendance and the impact it has on students learning. The article outlined some of the reasons students are not attending school such as personal issues or lack of transportation. The blog also highlighted different strategies to help more students attended school regularly, starting with moving away from a blame mindset. 

Using COVID-19 Aid to Give Jobs to Students 


An article published by Chalkbeat outlined how schools across the country are getting creative with how they spend their COVID-19 aid by using it to provide students with paid jobs.  These schools are giving students the opportunity to work as tutors, intern for businesses, and more. By paying students for these jobs, they are able to gain new experiences and get paid for their skills. This new system also allows students who worked minimum wage jobs late hours, to instead have a better balance between school and work.

The Impact of School Staffing Shortages


On September 27, 2022, Education Week published an article explaining that schools are struggling to fill critical positions, specifically math and special education roles. Results from a federal survey found that 60 percent of principals surveyed said they are struggling to fill non teaching positions, and 48 percent reported hiring teachers has been a challenge. The article also highlighted that for schools serving majority high poverty students and students of color, filling vacant roles is even more challenging. 

The State of Afterschool Programs: Results of a National Survey on Programming During a Pandemic

To assess the current state of afterschool programs, the EdWeek Research Center conducted a nationally representative survey of school principals and afterschool employees between May and June of 2022. The survey examined the types of activities that programs provide, perceptions of pandemic-related changes, and hiring or retention difficulties.

New Data on the Impact of COVID-19 on Programs

The Afterschool Alliance recently released more data on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on afterschool programs nationwide. The dashboard, and accompanying data, highlights challenges from spring 2022 and also shares information on the top issues that programs are responding to as they relate to children’s needs.

Quality Afterschool Programming Tools from Federal Government


The U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences recently released a new tool for providers to leverage when planning for quality afterschool programming. The tool walks through several steps for continuous improvement and shares best practices and strategies for implementing high-quality opportunities for youth.

Staffing Remains A Major Challenge for OST Programs

The Afterschool Alliance recently released updated data from its online survey regarding the state of the afterschool field. Program providers expressed worries around staff and student wellbeing, staff recruitment and retainment, and overall burnout. There is also information on strategies for encouraging individuals to become part of the OST community and spotlights of programs.


New Brief on the Health and Human Services Fields in Illinois

The Illinois Partners for Human Service has shared its full report on the needs of the health and human services workforce in the state. This resource is based upon the Coalition’s initial workforce research in the Fall of 2021.

Resources to Support New Staff Onboarding

The National AfterSchool Association (NAA) has shared an article with four ways to enhance orientation training for new staff. The goal of these strategies is to help community-based organizations (CBOs) recruit, retain, and support new staff.


Chicago Housing Authority Employment Opportunity 

The Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) is soliciting applications for its Youth Programs Specialist position. This position will help define and execute CHA’s youth strategy and ensure a positive youth development framework is incorporated into Resident Services’ programs and practices. Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis. 

Staffing Remains A Major Challenge for OST Programs 

The Afterschool Alliance recently released updated data from its online survey regarding the state of the afterschool field. Program providers expressed worries around staff and student wellbeing, staff recruitment and retainment, and overall burnout. There is also information on strategies for encouraging individuals to become part of the OST community and spotlights of programs. 

NEW Report on Teen OST Experiences!

To better understand teen experiences, instructor perspectives, and program quality during the pandemic, After School Matters partnered with the American Institutes for Research (AIR) to learn more about teens’ lives today. Findings from the newest report highlight that while teens and instructors are still facing challenges during the second year of the pandemic, ASM’s high-quality, relationship-based programs continue to inspire teens and instructors, support skills development, and contribute to teens’ sense of belonging and hopefulness for the future.

Partnerships with School Districts to Offer Equitable Afterschool Opportunities are Key

The Afterschool Alliance is highlighting the state afterschool networks in Maryland and Minnesota as both organizations have recently released reports around summer learning in 2021. Specifically, these reports focus on partnerships, equity, and sustainability of programming and share useful findings, best practices, and areas for future growth. There is also information on how these two states are leveraging COVID-19 federal relief to support out-of-school time (OST) and summer learning opportunities.

Advancing Equity and Inclusion in Hiring and Staff Development in OST


The National AfterSchool Association (NAA) recently wrote a guest blog post on the importance of racial equity and inclusion practices in the out-of-school time (OST) field. The blog emphasizes the importance of integrating these strategies into hiring and staff development and shares resources for doing so. The blog post also showcases a recent brief on the hiring trends in the afterschool workforce.

2022 College Changes Everything Recorded Conference Sessions

Nearly 1,200 attendees and session speakers participated in the 2022 College Changes Everything conference July 11-15, 2022! Session recordings and presentation materials, including those from ACT Now’s session, are now available online.

New Map Showcasing Afterschool Programs Leveraging COVID-19 Relief

The Afterschool Alliance and the National League of Cities (NLC) have partnered to produce the newest iteration of a map that pinpoints the location of Out-of-School Time (OST) programs across the country that are using COVID-19 funds. The article itself highlights three programs in Connecticut, Washington, and Virginia, respectively.

ISBE COVID-19 Relief Program Highlight

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) is inviting school districts and local community-based organizations to share how you are investing federal relief funds to help students recover. “That’s one of the many reasons why Marquardt School District 15 launched a first-of-its-kind Saturday learning opportunity called Exploration University, which provides engaging, problem-based learning opportunities outside of the traditional school week. K-8 students were invited to apply their knowledge in hands-on, STEM-related activities while further developing their collaboration, problem-solving, critical-thinking, and creativity skills.”

Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Dashboard

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has created a dashboard for individuals interested in learning how their local school district is spending the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds provided by the federal government. This dashboard represents the most up-to-date financial picture pertaining to the use of ESSER funds in Illinois.

21st Century Community Learning Centers 2022 Summer Symposium

Between July 19, 2022, and July 21, 2022, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) is hosting the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) 2022 Summer Symposium. This virtual event features methods to implement the use of 21st CCLC programming!

Planning for Sustainable 21st Century Programming

Sustainability planning is integral to creating an enduring Illinois 21st Century program. The Illinois Quality Afterschool Quarterly has an article highlighting some ways that afterschool providers can prepare to sustain their 21st Century program. There are also suggestions for continuing programming after the grant ends.

New York Uses Federal Aid to Offer Students with Disabilities Afterschool Programming

Chalkbeat New York wrote an article highlighting how New York City schools are leveraging COVID-19 funding to support students with disabilities with a focus on youth with sensory initiatives.

ESSER III Funding Update from Districts Across the United States

The 74 Million developed a new interactive database showcasing how school districts across the country are using the federal ESSER III funding.

Suggestions for Funding STEM and Career Technical Education Opportunities

eSchool News published an article highlighting some ways school districts may leverage federal funding for STEM and Career, Technical Education (CTE) experiences for students in Illinois. While this funding goes to state education agencies that later administer it to local schools, there is opportunity for afterschool and community-based organizations (CBOs) to collaborate to facilitate programming.

Updates about American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funding

The City of Chicago continues to update the community about ARPA grant opportunities and open Requests for Proposals. Email the Chicago Mayor’s Office of Community Engagement to be added to their email list.

Addressing the Needs of Out-of-School Time Leaders

The National Center on Afterschool and Summer Enrichment (NCASE) and the National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning (NCECDTL) developed a module to help address several aspects of Out-of-School Time (OST) professionals needs. Topics within this professional development include: history of the field, children and families’ needs, workforce needs, and qualities and responsibilities of an effective OST professional. Please note: login is required for module access. If you do not have an account, you can register for one!

Afterschool Alliance COVID-19 Funding Map

The Afterschool Alliance recently developed a map highlighting afterschool and summer learning programs that are leveraging COVID-19 relief funding for programming. There are also resources for advocating for partnerships with school districts and more!

Resources for Celebrating Afterschool Professionals Appreciation Week

The National Afterschool Association (NAA) has developed several resources for programs, families, and youth to use to celebrate out-of-school time (OST) professionals in their lives during the week of April 25, 2022!

Reports on Funding Sources to Keep Families and Children Supported

The Annie E. Casey Foundation has developed two new briefs highlighting ways to leverage funding to support families

2022 Joint Readiness Summit Recording and Resources

On February 4, 2022, the City of Chicago hosted a 2022 Joint Readiness Summit to share information about all active city American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Request for Proposals (RFPs) and grant opportunities. The recording and complimentary resources are archived for providers to access!

New Credit-for-Learning Advocacy Toolkit

The Afterschool Alliance has issued a new toolkit for provider to leverage in conversations around credit-for-learning opportunities for youth interested in becoming part of the afterschool field. The toolkit includes talking points, data, and more!

Strategies for Supporting Women of Color in the Afterschool Space

The National AfterSchool Association (NAA) released a new article highlighting a few key insights for supporting and elevating women of color in the out-of-school time field. The article focuses on a specific organization in California but makes the case for instituting organizational supports for women of color in general.

Afterschool Workforce Survey

ACT Now recognizes the sacrifice, hardship, and resilience that the afterschool field has shown, and continues to show, amidst the ongoing pandemic. We acknowledge that our programs are part of the state’s frontline network by providing support services to youth and communities across Illinois. We also are acutely aware that there are widespread vacancies, high staff turnover, and other challenging issues associated with working in the out-of-school time (OST) space. As a result, ACT Now has developed a brief 15-minute survey for the field to understand the key reasons for why individuals choose to stay and/or leave their OST positions. We will analyze this data and leverage your responses to inform our policy campaigns and advocate on behalf of afterschool providers with policymakers. This survey will be live until February 10, 2022, at 5:00 p.m. Please note that all information will be confidential unless otherwise indicated by the individual in the submission.

Complete the Survey!

In addition to our survey, we are holding several focus group opportunities to invite programs to share additional thoughts on the current afterschool workforce. Each focus group participant will receive a $25 Target gift card for their participation. Note: Individuals interested in taking part in these focus groups must complete the survey to be considered.

Register for a Focus Group!


Please direct any questions or concerns to Susan Stanton (Network Lead) at

Afterschool Alliance Report on the Staffing Crisis

The Afterschool Alliance recently released a new report on the staffing crisis titled “Where Did All The Afterschool Staff Go?” The report is based on findings from the Alliance’s online survey conducted Nov. 1-Dec. 13, 2021, and provides a stark picture of the ways in which staffing is impacting the ability of providers to meet the needs of the children and families they serve.

Article on Tackling the Teacher Shortage


The Learning Policy Institute (LPI) recently released an article on the teacher workforce shortage. The article highlights different strategies that state agencies, school districts, and community-based organizations are utilizing in order to encourage educators to facilitate classes and afterschool programming.


Understanding “Comprehensive Afterschool” in Federal Aid Opportunities

The Afterschool Alliance has published a brief one-pager on funding opportunities for community-based organizations. These funding opportunities come from the American Rescue Plan (ARPA). The one-pager can help define and highlight the specific traits of comprehensive afterschool programs and can be used in conversations with school districts and local elected officials.

Credit for Learning: Making Learning Outside of School Count

The Afterschool Alliance wrote a short brief on ways in which afterschool programs can provide older youth with opportunities to explore their interests and participate in programming that simultaneously earn credits toward their graduation requirements.

Guide on Core Knowledge and Competencies for Out-of-School Time Professionals

The National AfterSchool Association (NAA) has published a guide highlighting some of the core competencies and skills for the afterschool field. Some of these focus on ensuring an inclusive and anti-racist program setting for both youth and providers to thrive.

Guide for Equitable Hiring and Staff Development Practices

The National AfterSchool Association (NAA) has released a guide for organizations looking to review their hiring and staff development practices and to ensure equity is at the center of all opportunities for new or current staff.

Afterschool Alliance Wave 6 COVID-19 Survey

Your voice matters: Help continue to showcase why afterschool programs are critical during the pandemic. This fall, the leaves have already started to change color, but what remains the same is the pandemic’s presence, remaining top of mind for the afterschool field and the children and families they serve. By taking Afterschool Alliance’s short survey, you are helping document the ways in which the pandemic continues to impact your program, the supports your program is providing to the children and families in your community, and lift up the short- and long-term effects of COVID-19 on the afterschool field as a whole. All those who complete the survey will be entered into a drawing for the chance to win one of 50 gift cards in the amount of $50!The survey should take approximately 10 minutes of your time and your responses will be anonymous. The survey will close at 11:59 p.m. PT, Sunday, November 21, 2021.

Illinois AfterSchool Network Annual Training Needs Survey

The Illinois AfterSchool Network (IAN) is surveying the afterschool field to learn more about training and professional development needs of program providers across the state. The survey deadline is November 18, 2021, at 5:00 p.m. Once completed, you will be entered into a drawing names for admission to a FREE paid distance learning session!

Families and Businesses Support Afterschool Programs

The Afterschool Alliance released a blog post on increased public support for quality programs for children and youth. The blog post highlights data collected by Small Businesses for America’s Future and makes the case for why high-quality out-of-school time programming is a priority for employers and families across the United States.

Strategies for Integrating Youth Choice into Programming

The National AfterSchool Association (NAA) has developed a list of 10 strategies for afterschool program providers to implement in order to elevate youth choice in programming.

Families Indicate Need for Expanded Access to Afterschool Programming

Chalkbeat Chicago released an article indicating increased support and need of afterschool programming in Illinois by families. Even though schools remain open, many families find themselves in greater need of affordable care and supports for their children outside of traditional school hours.


Building a Positive School Climate Through Restorative Practices

The Learning Policy Institute has released a new brief on the science of learning and the benefits of utilizing restorative practices in school settings, including the afterschool space. The brief highlights why these practices create positive school climates and relationships with youth that foster feelings of trust, safety, and belonging.

New Report on the Importance of Human Services Providers

Illinois Partners for Human Services recently issued a new report on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health and human services sector. In particular, the report calls out the importance of sustainable funding, mitigating inequity, and wages for providers. The organization will be hosting a report launch on November 10, 2021, from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

America After 3PM Brief on Children with Special Needs or Disabilities

The Afterschool Alliance has recently released a new America After 3PM brief on the experiences of youth with special needs and disabilities in afterschool programs. The short report also highlights the opportunities available to children in programs, qualities their parents care most about in afterschool programs, and areas of improvement for the afterschool field to reach all youth with special needs or disabilities.

COVID-19 Learning Gap and Identified Youth Needs

The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) has published a blog post highlighting the impact on student learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. It specifically calls out the mental health crisis in young people and provides an explanation for why it’s critical that program providers, school districts, and families implement social-emotional learning strategies in programming and everyday life.

Afterschool Alliance Funding Database

The Afterschool Alliance has recently updated and released its new Funding Database for providers to utilize and look for sustainable opportunities. There is also information including recovery and COVID-relief funding for afterschool and summer learning providers.

Afterschool Alliance Staffing Toolkit for Program Providers

The Afterschool Alliance has released a Fall 2021 staff recruitment toolkit that hosts a collection of materials designed to help program providers recruit and hire new staff. Resources include outreach strategies, messages, and easy-to-tailor flyers and graphics!

Compensation – The Problem and Solution for Afterschool’s Staffing Challenges

The National AfterSchool Association developed a brief and blog post elevating the issue of staffing in the out-of-school time field and its relation to compensation. The brief provides strategies and guidance as to how to support afterschool professionals!

ShareMyLesson: Classroom Management Resources

ShareMyLesson has compiled a variety of resources relating to classroom management for educators and afterschool providers. These strategies can be applied in hybrid and in-person environments and align with the social-emotional needs of youth.

Learning Policy Institute Blog: Leveraging Recovery Funds to Prioritize Wellness and Accelerate Learning



The Learning Policy Institute and the School Superintendents Association, facilitated a series of five webinars in Spring 2021 in order to learn about and share best practices for accelerating learning for youth during the pandemic. The new blog post highlights many of the practices elevated by district and state leaders during the series for collaborating with schools to access recovery funds as well.

Youth Today Article: Students Disappeared during the Pandemic – Community Organizations are Helping Find Them

Our good friend and Afterschool Ambassador for Illinois, Teresa Dothard-Campbell, Site Coordinator at Glenview Middle School, was featured in a Youth Today article. The resource highlights the ways in which her afterschool and summer programs are engaging youth and families!

Future-Ed: American Rescue Plan COVID Playbook

Future-Ed of Georgetown University has released a playbook on best practices for utilizing American Rescue Plan aid for summer and afterschool programming. The guide also touches upon bolstering family engagement, implementing innovative staffing models, and providing mental health interventions for youth and families.

Learning Policy Institute Article: Mobilizing Technical Assistance, Partnership, and Data to Support School Reopening

The Learning Policy Institute has published a new article emphasizing the importance of technical assistance, partnership with community-based organizations, and data collection as it relates to helping schools reopen in the fall. The article also provides insight into how specific afterschool programs in San Diego County were able to collaborate with local schools in order to meet the needs of youth and families during the pandemic.

EducationWeek Article: Starting School After the Pandemic: Youngest Students Will Need Foundational Skills

Experts across the nation have noted that due to the pandemic, there was a decrease in enrollment of youth in transition years, such as early learners. EducationWeek released an article emphasizing some of the skills summer and afterschool providers could reinforce right now in order to support younger students renew learning before Fall 2021.

4-H Fact Sheet: Supporting Productive Educator Practices for Out-of-School Time

4-H has released a new fact sheet called Supporting Productive Educator Practices for Out-of-School Time which aims to highlight the best practices and examples of teaching youth in virtual environments. The document emphasizes data on how online learning environments provided opportunities for youth to learn, grow, and practice around a subject matter that were similar to the opportunities provided in physical learning environments during the pandemic. Ultimately, the fact sheet makes the case for facilitating hybrid afterschool experiences.

ShareMyLesson Resources: Reopening Schools and Programs

ShareMyLesson has collected resources and materials to support educators and afterschool providers make the transition to in-person instruction. There are also resources on hybrid programming and mental health and social-emotional learning curriculum. To access these resources, click here.

Illinois Department of Human Services: Grants Accountability and Transparency Act (GATA) Trainings

The Illinois Department of Human Services has created an asynchronous training program that explains the Grants Accountability and Transparency Act (GATA) system that is used for state grant funding and walks you through the application process. To learn more about the trainings and to register, click here.

National Summer Learning Association: Summer Learning – A Bridge to Student Success and America’s Recovery, a COVID-19 PLAYBOOK

The National Summer Learning Association (NLSA) and its partners have developed a playbook for afterschool and expanded learning providers in order to help frame Out-of-School Time (OST) as being an integral support for youth and communities as we begin to recover from the pandemic. The playbook hosts a long-term, comprehensive, and sustainable framework for planning, collaborating, and executing evidence-based practices and partnerships for high-quality summer and OST opportunities. The playbook also includes resources, tools, and guidance from NSLA. To access this document, click here.

Afterschool Alliance Blog: Primary Season Is Here! Where Do Candidates Stand On Afterschool?

The 2020 presidential election is only 10 months away and Democratic candidates have been vocal on issues such as education, student loan forgiveness, increasing teacher pay, childcare, etc. Some candidates have also voiced their support of out-of-school and summer learning programs for youth across the country. On February 10, 2020, President Trump announced his Fiscal Year 2021 budget, with the intention of eliminating funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) programs. As of February 2020, Afterschool Alliance has compiled data on the candidates of both parties in regard to where candidates stand on afterschool programming. Note: the candidates that have not addressed afterschool programs are not included in this list. To read, click here.

Start-Up Guides

These resources will help you create an afterschool program. Afterschool Alliance will walk you through the basic steps of planning and establishing your program.
Building a Strong Program Building and sustaining a high-quality afterschool program will better ensure your program’s longevity. New programs don’t need to reinvent the wheel – they can utilize the wealth of resources already available. For existing programs, there are always opportunities to grow and innovate.
The Fundraising Cycle Raising the necessary funds to operate your afterschool program can often be one of the most challenging parts of your work day. A fundraising step-by-step guide can help. The fundraising cycle consists of five steps that, when implemented into your development efforts, will help you focus and increase your chances for a gift. 
Billing & Payments Guide Do you have billing and payment policies in place at your program? Check out Navigating Billing & Payments for a fresh take on all things accounts receivable, including best practices, templates, worksheets, and more!
Tracking & Reporting Labor Accounting for the labor costs involved in grant-funded activities can be fraught with difficulty. This white paper examines why tracking and reporting labor is important, the challenges involved in doing this accurately, and how an automated workforce management solution could help your program meet these challenges much more effectively.

Management and

Here are wonderful resources from Afterschool Alliance to help you build a quality program.

Nonprofit Managment

Nonprofit organizations need strong financial management to ensure they can deliver the best services possible to the youth and families who depend on them. Weak financial management can keep programs from accessing grants, planning realistically, and doing all they can to fulfill their mission.

Funding and Long-Term Sustainability

Afterschool Alliance has resources to help you get funding and attain long term stability for your afterschool program. 



Professional Development & Qualifications



Advice from Veteran Teachers

EducationWeek asked veteran teachers “What are one to three things you would tell your first-year teacher self, and why would it/they be important to tell?” and posted the responsesThe hope is to provide newer teachers and administrators with advice that can help them as they continue their career in education and youth development. 

Fiscal Management Professional Development Opportunity

You For Youth (Y4Y) focuses on providing professional development for every staff member at every level of a 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program. This specific opportunity focuses on fiscal management and participants will receive a certificate of completion.

Ed Trust Report: A Natural Fit: Supporting After-School Staff of Color in Teacher Pipelines

In late July 2021, Ed Trust released a new report on afterschool programs and the teacher pipeline and specifically highlights the importance of staff diversity. The resource also sheds light on the practices for recruiting diverse out-of-school time providers and preparing them to become full-time educators.


Program Management Software

Afterschool programs face many unique challenges when it comes to administering their programs. Many tasks are repetitive, time-intensive and prone to error, yet they don’t have to be. Click here to see how integrating childcare management software could help.

Journaling for Development

Writing provides a way to clarify the daily jumble of triumphs, stumbles, joys, and challenges that providers experience. Once we write down the intense experiences, ideas, and questions that frame our professional lives, we can disentangle them and reflect on our daily practices. Check out this article for more inspiration!











Youth Development, Programming, & Activities

Engineering Classroom Resources

The National Science Foundation created a collection of lessons centered around engineering aimed at classroom teachers, their students, and students’ families.

Youth Want Schools to Teach About Climate Change

EducationWeek discussed findings from a nationwide survey from the EdWeek Research Center. The findings reveal that the education system does not align with the interest of many students on the issue of climate change. Teens are eager to learn more about how climate change will affect the future of the Earth and society, and what they can personally do to lessen the effects. The vast majority of states do not require comprehensive instruction on the subject outside of high school science class.

Engaging Youth in Election Season 


Share My Lesson has developed a lesson plan for high school aged students that focuses on mail in voting and the impact it can have on this year’s elections. The lesson plan has a video educators can show to students as well as discussion questions. 

Youth Perspectives on Designing Equitable Out-of-School-Time Programs

The Wallace Foundation developed a recent brief elevating young people’s experiences in afterschool. It provides recommendations for designing equitable programs and is focused on understanding how young people from marginalized communities may experience out-of-school-time programming.

Resource on Youth Development Practitioner Apprenticeships

fhi360 recently published a brief on the U.S. Department of Labor’s Youth Development Practitioner Apprenticeship (YDPA) program. The resources provides background into the apprenticeship program and key ways for afterschool programs to leverage apprenticeship opportunities.

America After 3PM Special Report on Rural Afterschool Programming

The Afterschool Alliance has released a new special brief on the state of afterschool programming in rural communities. This new data indicates that barriers for youth and families to participate in afterschool persist while the demand for programming increases. This information can be leveraged in conversations with policymakers to make the case for collaboration and funding!

Lights On Afterschool Event Ideas

The Afterschool Alliance has written a short blog post highlighting three topics that providers may use to plan for Lights On Afterschool events this year. There are also links to resources for celebrating throughout the month of October!

eSchool News Article: 5 Fun Tools for Student Collaboration

eSchool News has compiled five online tools for educators and afterschool providers to utilize during the fall in order to bolster student collaboration. These resources range from programs that allow for feedback on assignments to platforms for roundtable discussions and individualized conversations with youth.

Learning Policy Institute Brief: Summer Learning and Beyond – Opportunities for Creating Equity

The Learning Policy Institute has released a brief highlighting how summer is an excellent time for educators and program providers to develop social-emotional learning programming for youth and provides families with equitable access to support services. To read the brief, click here.

21st Century Community Learning Centers

All grant proposals for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program must be developed according to guidelines established in the RFP. These resources will help to support your planning and proposals.


 Teen REACH (Responsibility, Education, Achievement, Caring, and Hope) is a comprehensive youth development initiative funded by the state of Illinois that provides afterschool program services to high-risk youth between the ages of six and 17.