Looking at our data maps, you are met with close to 1,500 orange dots scattered across Virginia. Much like looking at a Hubble telescope image of multiple galaxies, each tiny dot on our maps represents an out-of-school time (OST) program with its own universe of students, families, and staff. Every orange dot equates to children being provided with safety, connection, and opportunity to live to their fullest potential. The dots are not the same. The nimble nature of OST programs allows them to serve the unique needs of their community. They are experts at leveraging local resources too but further investments are needed to sustain and expand these programs.
Below you’ll find program spotlights featuring of OST programs in six different Virginia Department of Education Regions. Their stories speak to the ability of OST programs to make positive impacts on the local community. NextUp RVA in Richmond has a unique model of coordinated, expanded learning services that brings together Richmond Public Schools with over 60 community-based enrichment providers. Alternatives Inc in Hampton fosters students social-emotional skillsets to support learning and success in life. Likewise, On the Road Collaborative in Harrisonburg prepares young people for a prosperous future through college and career exploration. Programs like 4-H’s Tech Changemakers fosters youth leadership by allowing for teens to step up as the tech experts in their small town. While the programs are all so unique, many challenges in underinvestment remain universal. They include lack of transportation, inadequate number of staff, and precarious funding sources.
These stories can be downloaded and shared!