Evaluates a Wallace-supported effort to build up after-school programs for middle school students in New York City's Beacon community centers. Identifies traits that seem to boost the chances of success, including giving youth a say in activities offered.
- Successful Strategy: In general, middle-grades youth were positive about their experiences at Beacon Centers, agreeing that activities were engaging and offered opportunities to try new things, helped them feel more confident playing sports, and helped them finish homework more often.
- Observation: Beacons that enrolled large numbers of middle-grades youth were more likely to be housed at middle schools.
- Observation: Participants rated their experiences more highly at Beacons that had stronger relationships with the host schools.
- Observation: Beacons that were better connected to the families of participants had greater success in achieving regular attendance among participants.
- Observation: Participants reported more opportunities to try new and interesting things when the Youth Council had more input in selecting program activities.