Rural After-School Programs: Meeting the Needs of At-Risk Youth and Their Families

Bethany L. Letiecq, Sandra J. Bailey, Julie A. Keller


Extant research has focused on out-of-school time among urban and suburban youth, yet there remains scant information on rural low-income youth and their families. This study examines the salience of after-school programs for rural youth. Using an ecological framework, we assess changes in youth behavior and skill acquisition based on reports from 47 youth attending after-school programs in two rural communities, along with their primary caregivers and teachers. Results indicate enhanced life skills and social behaviors among youth attendees. Implications for future research, programming, and policymaking are discussed.

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