Afterschool Programs Empower Communities by Engaging Students in San Francisco
Aspiranet’s Afterschool programs in San Francisco are part of a tradition of community engagement that evolved from citizen concern for its youth and community collaborations that involve schools, parents, community leaders and city government. Housed in the Sunset Neighborhood Beacon Center (SNBC), afterschool programming directly touches the lives of nearly 700 participants each day in elementary, middle and high school programs across the Sunset Neighborhood. These afterschool programs include a variety of project-based learning activities supporting homework, language arts, creative arts, IT skill development and civic engagement.
All programs are offered free of charge for these youth and their families. The afterschool program allows the flexibility to pursue topic areas that young people find personally interesting and relevant; this includes computer skill development, creative arts, civic engagement, community service, and physical activity. SNBC is regarded as a national model for offering community and afterschool programming rooted in Youth Development.
In response to the dearth of community-based services for underserved youth and adults in the Sunset District, a local grassroots effort in 1993 launched the Sunset District Community Development (SDCD). The SDCD was the first family-focused organization in the neighborhood to address the chronic issues facing the Sunset’s evolving populations. The Sunset Neighborhood Beacon Center grew out of these efforts when the San Francisco Beacon Initiative was established in 1996. More than a decade later, SNBC’s over-arching objective has remained to strategically direct a significant concentration of resources to families in distressed and underserved populations in the Sunset. In 1997, SNBC became a part of the Aspiranet network.
Youth Development Critical Features
- Relationship Building - with caring adults and peers
- Safety - physical and emotional
- Youth Participation - children and youth taking leadership and having input with a focus on choosing their activities and experience
- Skill Building - Learning new things and gaining new skills
- Community Involvement - Beacon members connecting with their neighborhood
By providing structured enriching learning opportunities, after-school programs can improve children’s academic performance and meet their social, emotional and physical development needs. In addition, enrichment opportunities not available during the regular school day—such as art, music, and drama—can be offered to complement the regular school-day program.
To learn more about afterschool and community development in San Francisco, please visit, SNBC or click here.