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Linda Lee explains how foundations, local and state governments, schools, and other entities have formed a multimember collaboration to support the Mayor's Time after school initiative.

In response to the 1992 Los Angeles riots, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation established the Urban Health Initiative in five U.S. cities—Baltimore, Detroit, Oakland, Philadelphia, and Richmond—with the goal of changing systems to improve the health and safety of children. Detroit's strategy was to remove barriers and strengthen infrastructure in order to increase participation in after school programs.

Research conducted in 1999 indicated that less than 20% of Detroit's school-age children were participating in after school programs. The major obstacle to participation was parents' lack of awareness of programs in their neighborhoods. To remove this barrier, Mayor's Time, as part of the Urban Health Initiative, began holding citywide After-School Fairs in 2002. These annual Fairs connect parents and children with hundreds of after school programs in churches, community centers, city recreation centers, and schools. The following year, Mayor's Time provided parents with another means of locating after school programs—a Web-based program locator, searchable by zip code, program type, or day and time, listing 800 programs.

Legislators and Funders as Key Supporters
Over the past 10 years, Mayor's Time has worked to increase after school program participation by forging strong and active partnerships with the City of Detroit, the state of Michigan, and local and national foundations. In 2002, Mayor's Time established a public–private partnership with Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who required each city department to develop and implement a plan to support a citywide after school initiative. Mayor's Time also partnered with key after school intermediaries across Michigan to advocate for the creation of a state-supported organization dedicated to developing a more cohesive system of after school opportunities for all of Michigan's children.

As a result of these efforts, the Michigan After-School Partnership (MASP) was formed by legislative action in 2004. Mayor's Time serves as its current chair. Originally sponsored by the Departments of Education and Human Services, with matching funds from the Mott and Johnson Foundations, MASP will soon gain the Departments of Community Health, Labor and Economic Growth, and History, Arts and Libraries as sponsors, thanks to new legislation to increase MASP's funding and sustainability.

Foundations have played an integral role in bringing stakeholders together in many Mayor's Time's efforts to increase after school participation. In 2004, the Skillman Foundation, the largest funder of children's programs in Detroit, established and charged Mayor's Time with leading their After-School Roundtable. With a mission to ensure that children and youth are recognized as Detroit's top priority, the After-School Roundtable—comprised of coordinating organizations, direct-service after school providers, and a major parent network—works to establish and strengthen connections with the business community, philanthropists, and local, state, and federal governments.

Supporting Postsecondary Preparation
Multifaceted partnerships also underscore two Mayor's Time postsecondary preparation initiatives. The Mayor's Time Public Safety Academy is a partnership between Mayor's Time; the Detroit Police, Fire, EMS, and Water Departments; Detroit Public Schools (DPS); and Wayne County Community College District that prepares high school students for entry positions as police officers, firefighters, emergency medical personnel, homeland and private security officers, and public service agents. Upon successful completion of a 3-year program in the Detroit Public Schools Career and Technical Center, students receive 12 credits at Wayne County Community College District toward their associate's degree. The second initiative is an 8-week paid summer internship program, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, which provides hands-on experience for youth working directly with police officers, firefighters, and Personnel and Water Department engineers.

New Evaluations and Future Partnerships
Evaluation of these initiatives is facilitated by the Mayor's Time Information System, a data system funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education that tracks participation in 33 community after school programs at 93 sites, recording over 17,000 individual students' attendance by hours of participation and type of activity. Michigan State University researchers use this system, along with data obtained from Detroit Public Schools, to evaluate how outcomes are associated with after school participation. The analysis of the first year's data shows that students who attended out-of-school time programs for more days generally did better academically, with higher GPAs and higher reading and math standardized test scores.

Mayor's Time continues to maintain and foster new partnerships. Joining with U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Children's Hospital of Michigan, Wayne State University, Michigan Department of Education, Detroit Department of Health and Wellness Promotion, United Dairy Industry of Michigan, and Weight Watchers, Mayor's Time is creating a new initiative to address childhood obesity. It is this support from a wide range of partners that enables Mayor's Time to work toward the goals of increasing after school participation and improving outcomes for children.

Linda H. Lee
Communications Director
Mayor's Time, Inc.
333 W. Fort Street, Suite 1230
Detroit, MI 48226
Tel: 313-965-4135

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