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The Harvard Family Research Project separated from the Harvard Graduate School of Education to become the Global Family Research Project as of January 1, 2017. It is no longer affiliated with Harvard University.

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Low attendance in out-of-school time programs is the norm for many middle and high school participants. Using a database of more than 60 recent evaluations of out-of-school time programs, the authors examine reasons youth give for staying and leaving programs. They outline a proposed set of promising strategies for both attracting and sustaining participation in out-of-school time programs.

This article begins by examining common barriers which keep youth from participating in out-of-school time programs, and providing incentives which may counteract these barriers. It then explores several promising strategies, including helping youth and their families understand the value of participation; reaching out directly to youth and their families in their homes and communities; matching the program content and schedule with participants needs; considering at-risk youth in recruitment efforts; recruiting friends to join together; hiring program staff who understand the importance of developing real connections with participants; offing engaging activities with breadth and depth of experience; and giving high school youth extra opportunities. Each of these strategies is based on research and program evaluations, and examples are given to see how they can be beneficial in real-world environments.

Not available from HFRP but can be ordered from The Prevention Researcher.

Not available from HFRP but can be ordered from The Prevention Researcher

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Published by Harvard Family Research Project