At the beginning of the pandemic in Summer 2020, After School Matters established a multi-year research partnership with the American Institutes for Research (AIR) to better understand teen experiences, instructor perspectives, and program quality during this unprecedented time.
Findings from our newest report highlight that while teens and instructors are still facing challenges during the second year of the pandemic, such as elevated food insecurity, financial hardship, and more, After School Matters’ high-quality, relationship-based programs continue to inspire teens and instructors, support skills development, and contribute to teens’ sense of belonging and hopefulness for the future.
After School Matters is currently using these results and others to inform its efforts to provide targeted supports and services to Chicago teens and our communities as we continue adapting to the ongoing pandemic. Check out the Summer 2021 Report below to learn more!
Lessons Learned From After School Matters Summer 2020 Programs
A new report by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) and After School Matters on teen and instructor experience during the COVID-19 pandemic:
The year 2020 was unlike any other. The COVID-19 pandemic, alongside increased activism and public attention on systemic racism, changed people’s daily lives. In response, After School Matters re-envisioned its 30-year-old in-person program delivery model to provide more than 500 remote learning programs to nearly 10,000 teens across Chicago in summer 2020.
Following that summer session, After School Matters partnered with AIR to better understand the teen experience during the pandemic. Nearly 4,000 After School Matters teens and 370 instructors from across the city participated to share their daily realities and program experiences.
The analysis found many Chicago teens are facing significant challenges during the pandemic: elevated food insecurity, stress, increased financial hardship, persistent technology and internet gaps, and more.
The good news discovered in the survey was that after participating in supportive out-of-school time programs, most teens reported feeling hopeful about their future, a sense of belonging in their program, and gains in content and 21st-century skills.
Noticing these trends before this AIR data was available, After School Matters began providing meals to teens, families, and instructors, mental health supports and resources, technology to teens who needed it, and more. Based on these data and insights, After School Matters is expanding supports to:
ASM Chief Program Officer Melissa Mister spoke with FOX 32 about the challenges teens are facing during the pandemic and the findings of the AIR report.