Young people deserve public policies that support their growth, learning, and unique needs—all day, and all year. While the expanded learning ecosystem is multifaceted, the SOWA advocacy team is focused on these specific areas of youth development:
The facts about expanded learning
Quality expanded learning programs amplify classroom-based instruction, build critical life and career skills, improve academic performance, and inspire young people to discover their passions. They are part of a “youth development approach” that focuses on supportive services and enrichment opportunities that are designed to meet young people where they are at—physically, academically, socially, and emotionally.
Through research and community input, we know that no single learning setting can prepare young people for success. Rather, an integrated approach to learning throughout the day and throughout the year is what young people need from the systems they navigate.
For research on expanded learning, check out our partners at the Afterschool Alliance, the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST), the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA), and the Wallace Foundation’s afterschool and summer webpages.
Working together for expanded learning and youth development
SOWA co-leads The Youth Development Strategy Table, a coalition of advocacy groups, community-based organizations, and public agencies across the state of Washington. Together, we’re building an advocacy strategy that creates space for the diversity of the expanded learning and youth development sectors, while working together with a unified voice for funding to increase access and drive youth program quality.