Afterschool Research: Service Learning

Fostering connections to the community

Through community service projects, performances for the community and bringing in local teaching mentors, programs are finding ways to connect students to their communities.

Research has found volunteerism to have a positive effect on young people through their school years—where adolescents who volunteer see positive outcomes as a teenager and teenagers who volunteer are less likely to take part in at-risk behaviors and more likely to see positive effects on their academic performance and emotional wellbeing. This section contains the variety of ways in which afterschool programs are showing students the positive change they can bring about in their communities, helping them learn about the unique needs and challenges of their communities, and connecting them to the members of their communities.   

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Afterschool and Service-Learning (2004)

Through youth-designed and youth-implemented service projects, youth not only are able to apply their academic skills to the real world, but also donate their services to their neighborhoods. This brief explains how afterschool programs offering service-learning projects can benefit both youth and their communities.


Afterschool, Community Service and Volunteerism (2004)

Parents and teens show overwhelming support for participation in community service, and they would like to see their afterschool programs offer volunteering opportunities. This issue brief explores how afterschool programs can give youth the opportunity to volunteer and discusses the benefits of volunteering, including learning applicable life skills, forming bonds with community organizations, and discovering the value of community service.


Service-Learning in Afterschool: Helping Students Grow and Communities Prosper (2011)

The Afterschool Alliance, in partnership with MetLife Foundation, is proud to present the third of four issue briefs in our fourth series examining critical issues facing middle school youth and the vital role afterschool programs play in addressing these issues. This brief addresses the difference between community service and service-learning, discusses the benefits of service learning and outlines how afterschool programs are already promoting service learning.


From Prevention to Diversion: The Role of Afterschool in the Juvenile Justice System (May 2020)

Involvement with the juvenile justice system can have devastating impacts for youth, their families, and their communities. Through a broad spectrum of services and supports, the afterschool field has leveraged the out of school hours to help keep young people out of the juvenile justice system. From building protective factors that promote resiliency to serving as diversion programs that function as alternatives to detention, afterschool programs can be an essential part of the work to support the young people at risk of becoming involved or currently involved with the juvenile justice system and help reframe and redirect their futures. In addition, in-depth afterschool program profiles that demonstrate these range of supportive roles that programs can play complement this issue brief:

Issue Briefs Service