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Community Programs to Promote Youth Development
school and during the summer to connect to them even more fully. The Center for Youth Development and Policy Research at the Academy for Educational Development in Washington, D.C., has been in the forefront of the movement urging community-based organizations to investigate the possibility of opening a charter school. Some long-standing youth programs, like El Puente in Brooklyn, have operated schools for years, because it was possible in New York City for alternative schools to receive designation as public schools long before the idea of charter schools caught hold. El Puente discovered some time ago the advantages of working with its young people throughout the day (Academy of Educational Development, 2000a). This opportunity is now available to others on a more widespread basis. The Mesa (Arizona) Arts Academy, a K-8 school located at the Grant Woods Branch of the Boys and Girls Clubs in Mesa, is a more recent example of a charter school. Charter schools are more than just a financing idea; they enable schools and the community programs to share the mission of adolescent development.
Foundations, especially local foundations, have supported national youth-serving organizations and settlement houses for decades. In the late 1980s and early 1990s the Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development put the idea of positive youth development in the spotlight for foundation and public policy consideration. Local foundations followed with important efforts. For example, the Chicago Community Trust undertook a multineighborhood, multiyear initiative that created a number of new youth-serving organizations, which are still operating. The Fund for the City of New York established the Youth Development Institute, which provided technical support and evaluation for the Beacons Schools and other youth-serving organizations. It became the prototype for other local youth development intermediaries around the country (Fund for the City of New York, 1993).
In the mid-1990s the DeWitt Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund took an especially important step by starting the MOST Initiative (Making the Most of Out-of-School Time). It awarded grants to public and private collaborations in Boston, Chicago, and Seattle to pursue a comprehensive approach to school-age care for low-income children ages 5 to 14. Designed in conjunction with the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) at the Wellesley College Center for Research on Women, MOST not only started new programs, but also paid attention to staff