Nancy Deutsch, associate professor in Curry School of Education and the Youth-Nex Center, Barton Hirsch of Northwestern University and David DuBois of University of Illinois-Chicago, "After-School Centers and Youth Development: Case Studies of Success and Failure." Cambridge University Press.
September 23, 2011 — The flourishing of after-school programs in recent years makes it more important than ever to understand their impact on young people. "After-School Centers and Youth Development: Case Studies of Success and Failure," a new book by Barton Hirsch of Northwestern University, Nancy Deutsch of the Curry School of Education and Youth-Nex at the University of Virginia and David DuBois of University of Illinois-Chicago clarifies the interactions that lead to success, based on an intensive study of three after-school centers that differ widely in quality.
The book presents highly readable case studies of six students, based on data collected from 233 site visits over the course of a year, and brings to life how after-school programs affect young people. As the book considers how and why youth thrive in good programs and suffer in weak ones, it emphasizes the importance of elements such as collective mentoring and the synergies among different programs and activities.
Deutsch, who works in the Youth-Nex center, which is dedicated to promoting positive youth development, notes that the book introduces an innovative model for improving the experience of youth in comprehensive after-school programs. The model adopts the term "PARC," which stands for four important aspects of a center that influence youth experience: programs, activities, relationships and culture.
"Researchers and practitioners have struggled to understand what happens inside after-school centers that promotes outcomes such as self-esteem and academic success," said Deutsch. "Understanding what happens in youth centers from both the organizational and individual levels can help identify best practices for promoting positive youth outcomes."