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Author: Alicia Wilson-Ahlstrom

Expanding Our Commitments to Brothers in Out-of-School Time

This post originally appeared on the Breakfast Club Blog on March 24, 2015. Learn more about the current work of MBK, here. A year ago February [February 2014], President Obama launched the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative (MBK). The goal of MBK was to lift up and strengthen any and all efforts that were “helping more young men of color stay on track. Providing the support they need to t...

It’s Time to Reframe the Narrative around Black Youth — and Youth Work Has Some Tools to Do So

This post originally appeared on the Breakfast Club Blog on June 9, 2017. His name is Jordan Edwards. And Jayson Negron. And Darius Smith. He was fifteen years old. He was unarmed at the time of his untimely demise at the hands of law enforcement. He was a young man of color caught on the wrong side of the thin line between potential and death. He should be participating in a summer jobs program, ...

When OST Comes Home: What Happens, What Counts, and What Matters?

Both the evidence from the science of learning and common sense tell us that learning and development occur all the time. But typically, opportunities for learning and development are shared and spread over various spaces, places, and delivery modes in schools, community organizations, and families. But ten days ago, most of those places were abruptly shut down – schools were closed, OST programs ...

A Holistic Approach To Helping Traumatized Kids, Adults, and Communities

I’m a voracious consumer of news. Each morning or lunch break, I set aside time to read headlines, scan news tickers, and flag the day’s trending developments on social media. Later in the day, I pick a few headlines or bookmarked videos, and dig into the details. When I have time, I read across news sources – traditional pieces, independent sources, and opinion bloggers – to provide more nuance t...

Youth Development at a Hot Dog Stand

Good youth development practice can emerge in unusual places. For thirteen-year-old entrepreneur Jaequan Faulkner, good youth development came in the form of a street vendor permit. The teenager opened a hot dog business in his Minneapolis neighborhood on Penn Avenue North, meeting with early success and a booming business. Then young Jaequan ran into an obstacle that nearly upended his entreprene...

Preserving Programs for Kids by Going Local

At the end of 2017, the nation is on the verge of one of the largest federal tax cuts in modern times. And while some in Washington celebrate, for others the Congressional tax deal holds the specter of devastating cuts to social services and education programs that rely on federal dollars. Some are bracing for budgets squeezed dry, and more and more programs, already run on a shoestring, hobbled t...

Fully Resourced Schools and Youth Development

A little more than two weeks ago, a video depicting an altercation between a school resource officer and a high school student went viral as millions watched the footage of an unarmed female student at Spring Valley High (South Carolina) being pulled from her desk, flipped backward, and dragged across the room. For nearly everyone who saw it, the video was jarring. As a youth development professio...

When the Disconnections Run Deep, Youth Need Deeply Connected Systems

For my first post on the BOOST Breakfast Club Blog, I had planned to play it safe. Stick to a topic like youth program quality or youth outcomes measurement that I know well and have already written about, and pose a provocative, though largely, intellectual question or two about it.  But this week, I’ve been distracted by the most devastating, and difficult to process, news I’ve heard about a you...