The Reasons Why

Better Support our Youth 

Decades of research demonstrate the benefits of afterschool and summer programs. Studies show kids in afterschool attend school more often, get better grades, and are more likely to graduate. Meanwhile, for example, 25% of Vermont youth who want to participate in summer programs do not have access, citing cost as the biggest barrier. A universal model has the power to close opportunity gaps that persist across our state. 

Better Serve our Families 

Afterschool and summer programs are places youth go everyday after school for at least 12 hours a week and during the day over summer while their parents are at work. More than 8 in 10 Vermont parents say afterschool programs help them keep their jobs and give them peace of mind, and 93% of Vermont parents are satisfied with their kids’ summer programs that our state offers. With universal afterschool and summer, every parent will have access to these critical programs. 

Center our Youth

All youth will be able to thrive because our model will value them and center them as essential contributors who help make decisions. We will create shared ownership between providers and youth in designing our model, as well as provide leadership and authentic engagement opportunities. As a result, youth voice and engagement will be strong, and our young people will grow up active, engaged, connected, and heard. 

Strengthen our Workforce

Youth, especially in our small, rural communities, will be able to build important workforce skills in a variety of college and career paths and to gain valuable job experience, including in the afterschool field. Universal afterschool and summer will benefit our older youth, building a flexible, stable, and equitable youth workforce. These youth workers, as well as new and experienced working adults, can envision and obtain careers in afterschool and summer programs because we will create job opportunities that are supported by educational pathways and professional development.  And Vermont employers will know that workers will show up because their children have consistent, reliable, free, engaging care for all shifts and seasons.

Attract New Residents

Universal afterschool and summer positions our state as a national leader; we will be the first in the country to offer universal afterschool, which will be an attractive benefit for families considering relocating their families. In fact, young people and families from other states will move to Vermont either to pursue training and experience in youth work or to raise their children in this supportive, wrap-around environment.