More Time For Teens: - California After School Resource Center

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More Time For Teens: - California After School Resource Center

More Time For Teens:Understanding Teen Participation—Frequency, Intensity and Duration—In Boys & Girls ClubsEarly results and lessons froma national longitudinal evaluationexamining the roleBoys & Girls Clubs play in the lives ofthe youth they serveAmy ArbretonMolly BradshawRachel MetzJessica Sheldonwith Sarah PepperPublic/Private Ventures


More Time For Teens:Understanding Teen Participation—Frequency, Intensity and Duration—In Boys & Girls ClubsEarly results and lessons froma national longitudinal evaluationexamining the roleBoys & Girls Clubs play in the lives ofthe youth they serveAmy ArbretonMolly BradshawRachel MetzJessica Sheldonwith Sarah PepperPublic/Private Ventures


More Time For Teens: Understanding Teen Participation—Frequency, Intensity and Duration—In Boys & Girls ClubsPublic/Private Ventures is a national nonprofit organizationthat seeks to improve the effectiveness of social policies andprograms. P/P V designs, tests and studies initiatives thatincrease supports, skills and opportunities of residentsof low-income communities; works with policymakers tosee that the lessons and evidence produced are reflectedin policy; and provides training, technical assistance andlearning opportunities to practitioners based on documentedeffective practices.Board of DirectorsMatthew McGuire, ChairVice PresidentAriel Capital Management, Inc.Frederick A. DaviePresidentPublic/Private VenturesYvonne ChanPrincipalVaughn Learning CenterJed EmersonAdvisor on Blended Value Investing andManagementThe Honorable Renée Cardwell HughesJudge, Court of Common PleasThe First Judicial District,Philadelphia, PAChristine L. James-BrownPresident and CEOChild Welfare League of AmericaRobert J. LaLondeProfessorThe University of ChicagoJohn A. Mayer, Jr.Retired, Chief Financial OfficerJ.P. Morgan & Co.Anne Hodges MorganConsultant to FoundationsSiobhan Nicolau, Chair EmeritusPresidentHispanic Policy Development ProjectMarion PinesSenior FellowInstitute for Policy StudiesJohns Hopkins UniversityClayton S. RoseRetired, Head of Investment BankingJ.P. Morgan & Co.Cay StrattonDirectorNational Employment PanelLondon, U.K.Sudhir VenkateshAssociate ProfessorColumbia UniversityWilliam Julius WilsonLewis P. and Linda L. Geyser UniversityProfessorHarvard UniversityResearch AdvisoryCommitteeJacquelynne S. Eccles, ChairUniversity of MichiganRonald FergusonKennedy School of GovernmentRobinson HollisterSwarthmore CollegeAlan KruegerPrinceton UniversityReed LarsonUniversity of IllinoisMilbrey McLaughlinStanford UniversityKatherine S. NewmanKennedy School of GovernmentLaurence SteinbergTemple UniversityThomas WeisnerUCLA


More Time For Teens: Understanding Teen Participation—Frequency, Intensity and Duration—In Boys & Girls ClubsAcknowledgmentsWe would like to acknowledge the many peoplewho contributed their time, support and expertiseto make this report possible.We are very grateful to the staff and teens at the 10Boys & Girls Clubs across the country that are partof this two-and-a-half-year evaluation. The Clubs are:• Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston, Charlestown Boys& Girls Club• Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County,Marti Huizenga Boys & Girls Club• Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Fort Worth,Martin Branch• Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Fort Worth,Panther Branch• Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee,Mary Ryan Boys & Girls Club• Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego,Linda Vista Club• Boys & Girls Clubs of Omaha, South Omaha Boys& Girls Club• Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco,Columbia Park• Colonel Daniel Marr Boys & Girls Club,Dorchester• West End House Boys & Girls Club of Allston/BrightonClub staff took the time to recruit teens for thestudy, to survey them, and to coordinate and sendattendance information to Public/Private Ventures(P/PV). The many teens who participated in thestudy also made invaluable contributions—weappreciate their willingness to complete surveys andtalk with us about their experiences at the Club.Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) providedthe funding for the research and this report, andnumerous BGCA staff reviewed and commented onearly drafts. In particular, we appreciate the helpfulsuggestions of Karen MacDonald and John Arigoni,who coordinated the feedback from other BGCAstaff and communicated it to us.The project benefited from the involvement ofPopulation Research Systems. Lisa Wasserman andher staff managed the follow-up survey data collection,and their hard work tracking the study participantsyielded strong response rates for the survey.We would also like to thank the P/PV staff whosecontributions to the report were significant. ChelseaFarley provided important suggestions for framingthe report and insightful comments that honed itscontent and structure. Tina Kauh helped conceptualizethe framework for the data analysis. LaurieKotloff and Carla Herrera reviewed drafts of thereport and provided excellent feedback that helpedstructure the final text. Edward Moran providedcopyediting for early versions of the report. Malish& Pagonis designed the report, and Chelsea Farleyand Laura Johnson oversaw the final copyediting,proofreading and production of the report.


More Time For Teens: Understanding Teen Participation—Frequency, Intensity and Duration—In Boys & Girls Clubs


Executive Summary 1Researchers believe that the teenyears are a critical time for providing services toyouth because it is then that young people areadopting behavior patterns that can have lifelongconsequences. Indeed, teens’ participation in outof-school-time(OST) programs has been found torelate to positive outcomes, but studies have alsoshown that as children enter the teen years theirparticipation in OST programs drops off—due to ashortage of programs and the fact that most existingprograms lack the ability to attract or sustainthe participation of older youth.To extend our understanding of programs that successfullyengage teens, Public/Private Ventures (P/PV)is conducting a national longitudinal evaluationexamining the role Boys & Girls Clubs play in thelives of the youth they serve, particularly as youthtransition from middle school to high school. Theevaluation investigates whether participation inClubs is related to positive outcomes for teens inthree areas: school success, positive health behaviorsand positive character development.Relying on data captured to the mid-point of theevaluation, the current report documents findingsrelated to a key question of increasing interest tofunders, policymakers, parents and programs: Whatdoes it take to involve teens in out-of-school-time programs?Involving teens over time is important if programsexpect them to gain measurable benefits from theirparticipation.The StudyThe longitudinal study follows 432 youth from 10Clubs across the country 1 who completed surveys attheir Clubs in Winter 2006, when they were in seventhand eighth grades. These youth completed afollow-up survey in Winter 2007 and will complete alast round of surveys in Spring 2008, when they arein ninth and tenth grades—roughly two and a halfyears after the study began. In addition, in-depthqualitative interviews were conducted in Spring2007 with the sample of youth who were in ninthgrade at that time. Finally, club staff are collectingdaily attendance information over the 29-monthstudy period for all participating youth. The studyfollows the teens regardless of their levels of continuedinvolvement in Clubs during the study period.The current report is based primarily on data gatheredfrom the first wave of surveys, the interviewswith ninth graders, and approximately 17 monthsof attendance data, which captures the cohort’sattendance at the Clubs as they move into eighthand ninth grades.FindingsThe following pages summarize the findings and conclusionsof the full report, available at www.ppv.org.The TeensThe surveys of seventh and eighth graders reveal thefollowing picture: The teens in the sample are ethnicallydiverse and primarily low-income, similar to theoverall population served by Clubs nationwide. Theyouth, a majority of whom had been involved in theClub for more than two years at the time the studybegan, typically lived relatively close to the Club andtended to report performing fairly well in school andhaving engaged in few risk behaviors.The Clubs’ Approach to Serving TeensThe Boys & Girls Clubs strive to provide a safe placefor youth to enjoy ongoing relationships with peersand adults and life-enhancing programs that offercharacter development, hope and opportunity. TheClubs provide an array of activities across broad programareas; the goal is to attract youth with a varietyof interests and expose them to new and diverseactivities that they may not otherwise have theopportunity to experience. The Clubs serve youthages 6 to 18, but use a modified approach with theirteen participants, providing supports and opportu-


2 More Time For Teens: Understanding Teen Participation—Frequency, Intensity and Duration—In Boys & Girls Clubsnities that are tailored to the needs of this older agegroup. The Clubs usually provide a special place fortheir teen participants, flexibility in terms of whatactivities youth participate in, more time to socializewith peers, and an increased emphasis on leadershipand role modeling.Teens’ Experiences at the ClubThe survey findings suggest that teens use the Clubin different ways; for some youth, their only outof-schoolactivities are at the Club, while otherscombine their Club activities with other pastimes.A common theme described by participants is that,regardless of how much they use the Club, theyfeel connected to the Club and feel that even ifthey are not using it right now, they could go back.The teens reported participating in a wide range ofactivities at the Clubs and getting involved in leadershiproles. They also reported receiving high levelsof support and opportunity at the Clubs, enjoyingthe time to “hang out” at the Club and valuing thefriendships they have there. Teens also rated theClub as safer in comparison to other places wherethey spend time. On average, teens rated the Clubs8.62 on a scale ranging from 1 (very dangerous) to10 (very safe). In comparison, the teens rated howsafe they feel at their schools as 7.19 and the neighborhoodaround the Club as 6.66.Participation Rates and the Factorsthat Explained Higher Rates of OngoingParticipationTeen participation in out-of-school-time programscan be sporadic and difficult to examine, particularlyin drop-in programs like the Clubs whereteens can leave for months at a time—and still bewelcomed back. Thus, to account for some of thiscomplexity in participation (particularly in consideringretention, given that youth can return at anytime), the study examines participation along three“dimensions”:• Frequency: How many days the teens attendedthe Club over a 17-month period.• Duration: How many months they attended theClub at least one day during the 17-month period.• Retention: Whether they have attended the Clubin the last 6 of the 17 months during whichattendance data were collected.Categorizing teen participation in this way showsrelatively high levels of attendance. Just under half(45.1%) of the teens came at least once in each ofthe 13 or more months during the 17-month studyperiod, with about one quarter (24.6%) coming 172or more days (roughly two to three days per weekor more, on average). Over three quarters (76.2%)had attended the Club in one of the last six monthsof the 17-month data collection period.Further analyses were conducted to test the associationsbetween Club practices as experienced by theteens at the start of the study (when they were inseventh and eighth grades) and their attendanceand retention rates over the study period. 2 Thefindings indicate that the most significant factors(measured at the start of the study) in relation toongoing and sustained teen attendance were:• The number of years the youth had been involvedin the Club prior to the start of the study;• The proportion of their friends who also go tothe Club;• The number of leadership opportunities inwhich they were involved;• The variety of activities in which they engaged atthe Club;• The time to just “hang out” and socialize withpeers;• Their perception that the Club was a physicallysafe place to be; and• Whether the youth had easy access (via self transportation)to the Club.


Executive Summary 3Lessons LearnedA number of important lessons about attractingand sustaining teen participation emerged from thequalitative and quantitative data gathered for thestudy:1. Building strong ties when youth are young islikely a key strategy for keeping them connectedto the program as they become teenagers.2. Flexible attendance policies and special programmingfor teens may be crucial to keeping a widerange of teens involved.3. A special teen space that offers the opportunityfor an “unprogrammed” social dynamic is a mainattraction for teens.4. For teens, many of whom are making their ownchoices about how they spend their time afterschool, having interesting activities availablewhen they arrive is particularly important.5. Outreach and programming for teens musttake into account the importance they place onfriendships.Early Indications of the Value of ParticipationAlthough we will follow the teens for one moreyear to assess the role Clubs play as all the teens inthe study move into high school, analyses of thedegree to which one year of participation is relatedto changes in outcomes suggest that keeping teensinvolved in Clubs may be beneficial. Specifically, ahigher level of attendance in Clubs over a one-yearperiod was linked to positive change in each of thethree outcome areas the longitudinal evaluation istracking: 3• Character development (integrity, social competenceand positive approaches to resolvingconflicts),• School-related outcomes (school liking andschool effort), and• Health and risk behaviors (delayed initiation ofsexual intercourse).Next StepsA final report will address the larger question of theevaluation: What role do Clubs play in youth’s lives?It will examine how attendance in the Clubs over29 months is related to outcomes and, to the extentpossible, explore whether there are thresholds ofparticipation—frequency, duration, retention—that are more likely to achieve those outcomes. Inaddition, as the study progresses, we will explorethe variety of attendance patterns that emerge—interms of involvement in activities inside and outsidethe Club—and the degree to which they are associatedwith key outcomes.Out-of-school time can be ripe with positive opportunitiesfor teens. The key is creating settings andoptions that are attractive to teens and that sustaintheir participation in ways that make a difference intheir healthy development. With their diversity ofprograms and opportunities, and the wide range ofages served, Boys & Girls Clubs provide a powerfulsetting for learning more about how to effectivelyserve teens and, ultimately, what threshold levelsof attendance may be necessary to promote positiveoutcomes.


4 More Time For Teens: Understanding Teen Participation—Frequency, Intensity and Duration—In Boys & Girls ClubsEndnotes1 The Clubs are: Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston, Charlestown Boys& Girls Club; Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County, MartiHuizenga Boys & Girls Club; Boys & Girls Clubs of GreaterFort Worth, Martin Branch; Boys & Girls Clubs of GreaterFort Worth, Panther Branch; Boys & Girls Clubs of GreaterMilwaukee, Mary Ryan Boys & Girls Club; Boys & Girls Clubsof Greater San Diego, Linda Vista Club; Boys & Girls Clubs ofOmaha, South Omaha Boys & Girls Club; Boys & Girls Clubsof San Francisco, Columbia Park; Colonel Daniel Marr Boys &Girls Club, Dorchester; West End House Boys & Girls Club ofAllston/Brighton.2 The number of possible months an individual youth couldattend the Club following his or her completion of the first surveyranged from 12 to 17 months.3 The analyses we conducted control for confounding variables thatwere also related to higher levels of attendance. Absent a controlgroup, the findings are suggestive of the benefits of Club participation,but not conclusive. For additional information, please seeAppendix D in the full report.


Public/Private Ventures2000 Market Street, Suite 600Philadelphia, PA 19103Tel: (215) 557-4400Fax: (215) 557-4469New York OfficeThe Chanin Building122 East 42nd Street, 42nd FloorNew York, NY 10168Tel: (212) 822-2400Fax: (212) 949-0439California OfficeLake Merritt Plaza, Suite 15501999 Harrison StreetOakland, CA 94612Tel: (510) 273-4600Fax: (510) 273-4619www.ppv.orgMarch 2008

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