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The National Afterschool Matters Practitioners Fellowship

Jul 18, 2012  Cece Gran

The field of youth development work is rich with practitioners who are masterful in working directly with young people. However, they are too seldom heard as a voice in elevating the public perception and discourse on the value of working with children and youth. Many researchers have made careers out of studying youth work in action and by writing about what they see good youth workers doing.

The National Afterschool Matters Practitioners Fellowship opens up an opportunity for youth workers to critically reflect on their own practice, engage in inquiry, and then write about what they have learned from the experience. This builds expertise and a better understanding of best practices for Out of School Time. Youth workers themselves become the authors of research that is used by others. That research helps build the field.

Cece Gran
University of Minnesota Extension
Center for Youth Development

The video you are about to view consists of interviews with program participants in the National Afterschool Matters Practitioner Fellowship in Philadelphia from 2008, 2009 and 2010, as well as a funder (Dr. Cheryl B. Oakman) and a facilitator (Raquel Esteves-Joyce) who have both been closely involved with the fellowship programs. Participants discuss their experiences and the changes they experienced over the course of their time with—and after—the fellowship.

Interview Participants:
Brandi Jeter, Education Works, 2008 Fellow
Diana Dahl, Aspira, 2009 Fellow
Anne Marie Dunne, Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation, 2008 Fellow
Rachel Loeper, Mighty Writers, 2010 Fellow
Dr. Cheryl B. Oakman, Funder, United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania
Raquel Esteves-Joyce, Fellowship Facilitator, The Philadelphia Writing Project

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Individual sections of this video can also be viewed selectively by clicking on the following links:

Introduction
Who we are and why we chose to participate in the fellowship.

The Fellowship Experience
Fellows discuss how learning to take an inquiry stance changed them, not only professionally, but personally. They learned to "dig in" to a topic, widen their perspectives, and move from being "task-oriented to questioning and people-oriented." The fellowship experience changed the "life stance" of some.

Inquiry
Fellows discuss how learning to take an inquiry stance changed them, not only professionally, but personally. They learned to "dig in" to a topic, widen their perspectives, and move from being "task-oriented to questioning and people-oriented." The fellowship experience changed the "life stance" of some.

Outcomes
Interviewees talk about a wide range of outcomes from the impact on them personally, their personal practice, their staff, their programs and the field. They have become life-long learners. Looking closely at their practice led them to develop instruction and assessments that meet the specific needs of the children. They are supporting and building the field by mentoring new fellows and publishing their research.