After-School Activities Project focuses on promoting positive youth development through organized after-school activities. Funded by the John Templeton Foundation and Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, we are interested in the following questions:
-Does participation in organized after-school activities prevent negative outcomes and promote positive ones, like being a person of strong character?
-If organized after-school activities make a difference in youth development, what are the mechanisms behind these associations?
-What kind of experiences in organized after-school activities are most impactful in promoting youth development?
-How can we further strengthen organized activities and inform best practices?
To answer those questions, we are conducting two main lines of research.
1. We are conducting critical reviews of existing literature on organized after-school activities and youth outcomes to document the state of the field.
2. We are analyzing data from two existing datasets - the NICHD Study of Early Childcare and Youth Development (SECCYD) and Promising Programs. The outcomes we are focusing on include academic competences, character virtues (i.e., Hard Work, Self-Control, Emotion Regulation, Prosocial Behavior, and Cooperative Behavior), social emotional competences (e.g., self-reliance, impulse control), and delinquency and substance use. Taking advantage of the longitudinal design of the datasets allows us the opportunity to study these processes for diverse youth and from childhood to emerging adulthood.