BOX 5–3 Save the Children (U.S. Programs)

Since 1997, Save the Children has been running an initiative called Web of Support to promote quality programs for young people ages 5 to 18 during out-of-school time. Community organizations across the country, identified by Save the Children as Rural Community Partners or Urban Collaboratives, serve children and youth sponsored by Save the Children. The evaluation, conducted by the Aguirre Group, reports on the accomplishments and outcomes of 43 Rural Community Partners (Partners) and 7 Urban Collaboratives (Collaboratives) from October 1998 through September 1999 (Terao et al., 2000).

The evaluation was based on a participatory/empowerment model. This study documents the positive outcomes associated with children and youth, partners and Collaboratives, regional and Home Office staff, and the Save the Children national network. The evaluation included a variety of data collection methods including content analysis of evaluation reports developed by each participating partner and collaborative; conducting pre-post surveys of youth interns and new partners (through written surveys and through focus groups); conducting post surveys of youth-intern supervisors, pilot and first-year partners, and Collaboratives facilitators; conducting telephone interviews with Collaboratives members, and regional and home office staff; conducting observations during site visits and training; conducting pre-post adult surveys (staff, teacher, and/or parent); conducting parent interviews; developing and using observation checklists; and reviewing a collection of existing records (e.g., grades and test scores).

Although these organizations share many common aspects, each has unique components within the structure of its program. For instance, the program content may vary and the demographics of the service populations may vary, depending on the local community.

  • Grassroots youth development organizations: These autonomous community-based organizations are fundamentally independent from other organizations or institutions. While they generally do not operate in isolation, their work with youth does not depend on the acceptance or support of any single institution.

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