Assets for Youth Work Group Report and Recommendations



Report and Recommendations from the Charlottesville/Albemarle Commission on Children Families Assets for Youth Work Group



Tucker, White, Baker





May 4, 2005


ACTION:                                   INFORMATION:    X



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The Commission on Children and Families (CCF) provides local governments with tools to make informed decisions on program and policy recommendations related to child and family services. CCF’s goal is to ensure that the community’s public investments improve and support the well-being of children and families. To provide this information to you and to be a catalyst for solving identified problems, CCF follows three critical steps, which will be shared in today’s report and presentation on CCF’s Assets for Youth Work Group.



Goal: 3.1      Make the County a safe and healthy community in which citizens feel secure to live, work and play




In the first step of the process, CCF used existing data and conducted original research to understand current and emerging conditions for youth in our community.


·         CCF 2003 Community Needs Assessment found discrepancies in after-school and extracurricular activity participation for youth based on race and income.

·         National research indicated importance of safe and enriching after-school activities to young people’s development and academic success.


Next, CCF convened local residents—private and public partners—to better understand the problem and address it in the context of local City and County resources and needs.


·         CCF Assets for Youth Work Group (25 members of the community who work with youth.)

·         Work group members and school staff recruited 23 youth leaders to lead focus groups with 276 diverse youth to find out how to involve middle and high school students more in productive after-school activities (“Youth Voices: Out-of-School Time in Charlottesville/Albemarle.”) This study was funded by the Foundation of St. John the Baptist in the Woods.


Finally, CCF staff and the work group formulated recommendations and are in the process of identifying and coordinating resources needed to address these recommendations. 


·         Developed “Improving Access to Out-of-School Activities in Charlottesville/Albemarle.”

·         Published the “What’s There to Do After School?” brochures and distributed them to every public school student at the beginning of the school year.



The Youth Voices study identified critical factors that impact student participation in out-of-school activities.


·         While 69% of students interviewed participated in one or more structured after-school activities, the majority desired more opportunities.

            *Activities youth most currently involved in: sports programs, fine arts, and school-based activities.

·         Barriers to involvement

                  *Lack of peer participation: Youth are reluctant to participate in activities without friends, and are concerned about                        peer judgment if activity perceived as unpopular.

·         Financial cost of activity (one third of the student questionnaires indicated this), particularly the perceived or actual high cost of participation fees; Entrance fees for school events (games, plays, dances), and transportation.

·         What youth would like to see after school

                  *Teen club, coffee house, or music hall, where teens could congregate for social, recreational, and educational                              activities.

*Comfortable, safe place, preferably located nearby or within their neighborhood.

*Programs led by adult leaders who are respectful and caring, but not controlling.

*Programs open on weekends and nights.

·         What youth are doing now on weekends

                  *Some cite “partying,” which is associated with use of drugs and alcohol.

                  *Going to malls, friends’ houses, parks, churches, gyms.

·         Summer

                  *Most of high school students interviewed worked or wanted to work.

                  *Difficult to find job.

                  *Few employees willing to hire under age 16, even with work permit.




Recommendations for the County of Albemarle

Of the work group’s main recommendations, some can be addressed now by existing after-school and recreation programs, while others require new resources and attention.  CCF staff and members of the work group members will be at the Board meeting to answer any questions and hear the Board’s response to the following recommendations:


1.       Recommendations using existing resources

·         Improve engagement and involvement of youth in the design, governance and operation of out-of-school programs.

*To facilitate this, the Board could offer incentives to school and community youth programs that demonstrate youth engagement and leadership in their design and operation.

·         Assets for Youth Implementation Team will guide the development and implementation of recommendations for improving access to out-of-school activities.

*To facilitate this, the Board could use this body and the youth involved in community and school-based out-of-school programs for continued guidance.

·         Make information about financial assistance available and understandable to all students and their parents.

*CCF will distribute a listing of after-school programs and available scholarships in early fall.


2.       Recommendations requiring new resources

*CCF has begun discussions with Walton Middle School principal to enhance after-school programming; school staff and work group member programs are eager to assist in this process.

*CCF has applied for a youth leadership and research grant for this purpose and will seek additional sources of support.

*These recommendations will be presented to City and County School Boards and Parks and Recreation departments, and costs for expansion will be determined.

*Recommendation to eliminate fees will be presented to the County School Board.

*Work group members will solicit support for this campaign from private and public sources.

*Work group seeks research funds and staff support to investigate funding sources and identify quality programs.

*Will present recommendation to Charlottesville Transit Service and County School Board.


 Return to regular agenda