Program Prepares Students for Future

YouthQuestThe Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce’s YouthQuest afterschool program grew significantly during the program’s second year of operations in Flint-Genesee County area schools according to an evaluation conducted by Policy Studies Associates (PSA).

Rhetta Hunyady, Group Vice President of Employer Education & Training Connection says students who participate in YouthQuest afterschool programs are building a foundation for the future.

“We’ve been told by the principals and teachers at our YouthQuest sites that they see an impact on their students who participate in YouthQuest,” said Hunyady.  “We now have a third-party evaluation which substantiates what we have heard anecdotally. YouthQuest is making a difference in Flint-Genesee County schools by preparing leaders for the future.”

The average number of program participants at each site increased from 98 in the 2009-10 school year to 156 in the 2010-11 school year, a 62 percent increase.  Among students enrolled in YouthQuest, average attendance increased from 67 percent to 74 percent.

According to Tiffany Miller, Senior Research Associate for PSA, YouthQuest has established a solid foundation on which its programs can continue to improve and grow.

“Under the leadership of the Regional Chamber, YouthQuest successfully expanded programming in 2010-2011, reaching more students and serving them for more days over the school year,” said Miller.  “With the program’s current emphasis on enriching student experiences and improving student learning, YouthQuest is well-positioned for long-term success in Flint and Genesee County.”

The PSA study results cited the opportunity to participate in learning opportunities not available during the regular school day as a benefit that had an impact on students’ academic results.  Principals of YouthQuest site schools also said strong partnerships connected the afterschool program with their school.  According to evaluation results, middle school participants said that leadership opportunities were among the benefits they have gained through YouthQuest.

Miller also says the YouthQuest middle school attendance rate compared very favorably to middle school programs in other parts of the country serving similar populations.

“The YouthQuest participation rate among middle school students is very strong,” said Miller.  “With a 72 percent attendance rate in its second year, YouthQuest’s middle school attendance is on par with long standing programs such as the AfterZone in Providence Rhode Island and New Jersey’s After 3 programs and exceeds third year average middle school attendance at the After-School Corporation in New York City.”

YouthQuest currently provides afterschool enrichment programs at 15 elementary and middle school-based sites serving 1,200 students in four districts, including:  Carman-Ainsworth Community Schools, Flint Community Schools, Mt. Morris Consolidated Schools and Montrose Community Schools.