— By Joseph Durlak and Roger Weissberg
Evidence is mounting that where and how youth spend their time outside of normal school hours has important implications for their development. On the negative side, estimates suggest that more than 7 million children in the United States are without adult supervision for some period of time after school. This unsupervised time puts youth at risk for such negative outcomes as academic and behavioral problems, drug use and other types of risky behavior (Weisman & Gottfredson, 2001). On the positive side, young people benefit when they spend time engaged in structured pursuits that offer opportunities for positive interactions with adults and peers, encourage them to contribute and take initiative, and contain challenging and engaging tasks that help them develop and apply new skills and personal talents (American Youth Policy Forum, 2006; Carnegie Corporation, 1992; Larson & Verma, 1999; National Research Council & Institute of Medicine, 2002). Get your copy.