Research Friday: Out-of-School Time Programs for Latino Youth

posted by
Ariel Rodríguez, Ph.D.,
Assistant Professor
ASU School of Community
Resources & Development

Welcome to Research Friday! As part of a continuing weekly series, each Friday we invite a nonprofit expert to highlight a research report or study and discuss how it can inform and improve day-to-day nonprofit practice.

The U.S. has seen a dramatic increase in the number of Latino youth, which will continue to play a key role in the services provided during out-of-school time. Out-of-school time is defined as before and after school, as well as weekends and summer. These programs are often developed to meet the needs of the youth they serve, and demographic shifts throughout the US suggest most programs will serve Latino youth, if they are not already doing so.

The term Latino refers to the nearly one in four youth residing in the U.S. who come from different Latin American nationalities, although they have varying races, cultures, language proficiencies, and experiences in the U.S. While an increasing amount of individuals identify themselves as Latino, most still refer to themselves by their Latin American country of origin. In addition, an increasing number of these individuals are simply referring to themselves as American. This is apt, as approximately 92% of them are U.S. citizens.

While Latinos have a variety of differences, they are often united by the many struggles they experience. These struggles date back hundreds of years and include oppression by those in power. The net result of these struggles is that Latinos are lacking in many key developmental areas, suggesting developmental needs for youth programs to address. In a recent article, I highlighted these deficit developmental areas, which include social, cognitive, physical, and spiritual developmental domains. Below, I will briefly highlight some of the key factors within each of these.

Donning the Sweatshirt of Service: Reflections from a Second-Year Ally

posted by
Angela Soliz,

ASU Lodestar Center
Public Allies AZ Alumna /
Youth Leadership Development
Coordinator & Volunteer Coordinator,
ADL Arizona and GLSEN Phoenix

When I think back on my time with ASU Lodestar Center's Public Allies Arizona program, many different memories and candid moments pop into my mind. Particularly, I think of an image of a certain well-worn Public Allies hooded sweatshirt — our unspoken uniform of service. Every service day, there it would be. Rain or shine or paint, it would be there.

That sweatshirt is a reflection of my experiences in a lot of ways, and I think it's a symbol that unites a lot of us in the nonprofit sector, beyond Public Allies. It's a rather unassuming (some might even say unattractive) emblem of our collective pledge to do a service for this country. We take pay cuts, put ourselves out there, and take risks — all to make a difference. We all look similar in our sweatshirts, and the mission and goals of our work — to do good service, to help others, to create change — unite us even more.

But, inevitably, that sweatshirt comes off once we get home from a long day of service, and the visible link to one another and the tangible attainability of our work becomes harder to see.

Finding Pride in American Service

posted by
Dianna Schwartz,
Public Allies Arizona Alumna /
Program Associate,
New Global Citizens

About eighteen months ago, I was standing outside a Thai classroom in the open courtyard of an elementary school in Bangkok, watching from a second-story perch as Thai children "marched" in the center recreation area. As an American who had traveled extensively in Europe before, I often harbored the telltale sign of a Catholic — guilt — when representing my country on foreign turf.

The U.S., known for having a culture of excess, had often given me reasons to feel apologetic when interacting with foreign civilizations. I had learned to keep my head down, to speak quietly and thoughtfully, to keep my opinions to myself, and, when all else failed, to tell people that I was Canadian.

I was poised to enter a classroom and represent my country again, this time to forty third-graders who might never make it to the U.S. on their own. I had just been told that part of the value I brought as an English teacher was being Goodwill Ambassador, bringing U.S. culture to a generation of Thai youth. If they never travel abroad in their life, this will be all they know of the U.S. I watched the marching students below and mulled over that awesome responsibility, and, oddly enough, felt the dawning of a supremely foreign thought.

While we certainly have reasons to be reluctant to announce our U.S. heritage loudly, we also have reasons to be proud to call ourselves U.S. citizens. Not every country exports volunteers in the way our country does — the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, Cross Cultural Solutions, Atlas Corps, Global Leadership Adventures... the list continues on ad infinitum.

Making the Play: Successfully Engaging Youth Within the Nonprofit Sector

posted by
David "DJ" Heyward,

American Humanics Student /
Team M'Phasis Coach

Many of us in the nonprofit sector work specifically with children and young adults. It can be a big challenge, but also, I'm sure we can agree, exceedingly rewarding.

For the past four years, I have had the privilege of working with Team M'Phasis, where I get to watch young boys turn into capable, determined young men. This organization uses sports, specifically basketball, as a vehicle to help youth get motivated in school and learn life lessons while at the same time producing some seriously great athletes.

Whether you work with young volunteers or interns, or if your organization focuses specifically on children's services, I've learned a few key points that have helped me make strong connections with kids during my time with Team M'Phasis. Below are a few of those take-aways to help you and your organization get the most out of working with youth.

Develop Their Court Vision

Keeping the Volunteering Torch Lit

posted by
Brittany Fasnacht,
Office Assistant
ASU Lodestar Center

Today's youth generation has been stereotyped as the "me" generation — as obsessed with technology, social media, and constantly checking Facebook news feeds. However, technological advancement and social media are the key factors of this generation when it comes to giving back. Nonprofit organizations all over the world have become accustomed to the social media franchise: People are now able to donate online, view volunteer opportunities on the web, follow charity updates, and much more. Having access to this information through social media is one very large reason I believe that today's youth are becoming more involved with giving back to their communities.

Now, technology and social media aren't going to be the only things that help keep the younger generation involved with volunteering and donating to nonprofit organizations. This is where strong family ties can make a big impact. Instead of spending your "family time" watching television, give volunteering a shot! It's a fantastic way to pass the volunteering torch on to the next generation. While growing up, I spent a lot of time with my family volunteering and giving back to various organizations such as the Special Olympics and St. Mary's Food Bank, and it's had a significant impact on my life, even inspiring me to join the American Humanics program.