Developmentally-Responsive Relationships During After School

Dana R. Fusco

Abstract


Research has shown that afterschool programs are effective in improving academic performance, helping children develop better work habits and social skills, reducing the likelihood of at-risk behaviors, and decreasing school-based crime. Many agree that such results would not be prominent if it weren’t for the supportive nature of children’s relationships with staff. This manuscript presents a theoretical understanding of the connection between relationships and human growth and development. Observations of outstanding youth workers will show how relationships are used to leverage the development of young people. The author also provides a model of adult-as-community-builder that elaborates the specific methods by which youth workers create what is being called here, developmentally-responsive relationships. The manuscript ends with suggestions for enhancing the vitality of adult-youth connections and supporting the growth of youth professionals.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2007.348

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Copyright (c) 2007 Journal of Youth Development

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