Masthead - Q1
IN THIS ISSUE:
Message from the All Stars Project President and CEO,
Gabrielle Kurlander
Gabrielle
Welcome
Welcome to Play it Forward . This new quarterly newsletter will introduce you to the builders and influencers of the Afterschool Development movement, offer updates on the latest and most innovative thinking and practices in the field and let you know how you can become involved. 

Play it Forward will also provide a forum for exploring some of the latest topics of interest in the Afterschool Development community, including: 

  • Using play, performance and the arts to foster youth agency and development 
  • Creatively addressing the trauma of poverty for youth and communities 
  • The varied approaches in the afterschool arena (creative youth development, performance-based development, social/emotional learning, positive youth development, performance activism, etc.)
  • Involving young people in the creation of program and strategy 
  • Evaluating afterschool programs and their impact
…and much more!
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Development leads to greater agency, achievement, opportunity and social and personal transformation.
How the All Stars Sees Afterschool Development
Afterschool Development is a new way of engaging poverty. For the All Stars, development is the ongoing capacity of human beings to create and recreate their lives. Without development, we become stuck in roles that, for young people growing up in poverty, are narrow, constraining and too often negative. Development leads to greater agency, achievement, opportunity and social and personal transformation. At the All Stars Project, we have discovered that performance (onstage and off) helps ignite development. It is a means by which people of extraordinary differences can create something new together. This is how we transform poverty, and the ways it limits what we see as possible. One effect of this shift is that isolation and division are transformed into connection and community. Afterschool is the space that allows this creativity to flourish.
Pictured above right: David Chard, Ph.D. (Boston University) performing the improv game "mirroring" with an All Stars youth leader.
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What these dedicated women and men share is a thirst for new methodologies and an unshakeable commitment to relating to the youth in their communities, not as victims but as active creators of their lives.
We Aim to Build an Afterschool Development Movement
At the heart of this new movement are leaders and front-line practitioners from hundreds of community, faith-based, cultural, education, youth development and other grassroots organizations, many met through the dozens of Afterschool Development conferences, roundtables and working groups the All Stars Project organized over the last five years. Our biannual Performing the World conference links practitioners in the United States with performance activists from forty countries. While their backgrounds and interests are varied, what these dedicated women and men share is a thirst for new methodologies and an unshakeable commitment to relating to the youth in their communities not as victims, but as active creators of their lives.
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Dr. Edin, deeply concerned with the “dignity effect” in helping move people away from poverty, has recognized the All Stars Project, and the Afterschool Development field more generally, as contributing to the dignity effect taking hold.
Cutting-Edge Research
A growing number of academics are offering independent data and evidence for the relationship between increasing development and fighting poverty, and for practices of Afterschool Development that serve this aim. Edmund Gordon, Ph.D. (Columbia University, retired), whose work on supplementary education and the “achievement gap,” together with Kwame Anthony Appiah, Ph.D.’s (New York University) work on cosmopolitanism, race and identity, helped inspire and inform our reframing of the achievement gap as the development gap. We are grateful for their leadership and involvement. Two of the country’s leading poverty researchers, Kathryn Edin, Ph.D. (Princeton University) and David Grusky, Ph.D. (Stanford University) also recognize Afterschool Development. Dr. Edin, deeply concerned with the “dignity effect” in helping move people away from poverty, has recognized the All Stars Project, and the Afterschool Development field more generally, as contributing to the dignity effect taking hold. Dr. Grusky sees the afterschool arena as being an effective challenge to the anti-poverty orthodoxy. 
Three People
Pictured above left to right: Amy Weinberg, Ph.D. (University of Maryland, retired), chair of ASP Afterschool Development Initiatives; David Grusky, Ph.D. (Stanford University); and Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Ph.D. (Harvard University).
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In addition to investing millions of dollars in funding support, forward-thinking corporate leaders and philanthropists are building active partnerships with, and providing real-world, real-time training and employment opportunities for, thousands of inner-city youth.
Business and Philanthropic Champions are Partners in Afterschool Development
At the All Stars, we believe that development is for everyone – and that everyone can be part of this growing movement. This includes thousands of individuals and hundreds of corporations in America’s business community that have stepped up to champion Afterschool Development. In addition to investing millions of dollars in funding support, forward-thinking corporate leaders and philanthropists are building active partnerships with, and providing real-world, real-time training and employment opportunities for, thousands of inner-city youth. Their generosity has made it possible for Centers for Afterschool Development to open in New York and Newark (with a campaign for a third well underway in Chicago). These centers, combined with the growth of the larger movement, have created a platform through which public sector policymakers can be challenged to adopt new and innovative ways of approaching these issues of poverty, youth development and community interests.
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Dr. Halpern argued that the afterschool field should “abandon this expectation” and undertake “basic, grounded research” on the developmental experiences – including play, exploration and learning from adults skilled in different domains – that afterschool programs provide.  
Evaluating Afterschool
Afterschool Development is envisioned as a force to lead the way in responding to a challenge issued over a decade ago by the country’s leading scholar on afterschool, Robert Halpern, Ph.D., (Erikson Institute, retired). In response to the dominant belief that the purpose of afterschool programs is to boost test scores and academic achievement, Dr. Halpern argued that the afterschool field should “abandon this expectation” and undertake “basic, grounded research” on the developmental experiences – including play, exploration and learning from adults skilled in different domains – that afterschool programs provide.  “We need a new program of research,” Dr. Halpern said.  

The All Stars Project is answering Dr. Halpern’s call through its partnership with the Center on Research and Evaluation at Southern Methodist University. A new project to be completed in 2020 is a data-driven evaluation tool to bring into clearer focus what Afterschool Development does and how it works.
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There is so much to be done and so much turns on our success. I look forward to working with everyone who wants to build this conversation, expand this movement and deliver the “developmental goods.” 
Gabrielle Signature
Gabrielle

See below on how you can join us in building the Afterschool Development Movement!
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Please share your responses to anything in  Play it Forward  and thoughts you have on Afterschool Development and what it means for our communities and country.
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In the Next Quarter Issue Play it Forward :
  • Building a Movement – Updates on the issues that practitioners, academics, and business, civic and community leaders are coming together to discuss in afterschool development working groups and conferences. 
  • In the Field with Frank Pettis – Interviews by ASP Manager of Afterschool Development Initiatives Frank Pettis with people on the frontlines in our communities who are changing lives and making a difference.
  • On the Cutting Edge – The latest developments in thought leadership, research and policy helping to shape the conversation about afterschool development, education and poverty in America. 
  • Philanthropic Partnerships – Featuring partners and funders who are stepping up and investing in Afterschool Development and its growth nationally.
  • A New Conversation about Evaluation – Highlights of the growing national conversation about evaluation and the need for new tools. 
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