Education advocate, officials stress need to fund expanded learning at event celebrating after-school programs

Karen Pittman has seen a lot of progress in how people view the role of after-school programming in the development and success of at-risk children.

While these programs used to be seen as a pleasant but ultimately unnecessary luxury, more and more communities are beginning to understand the intrinsic value of expanded learning opportunities, said Pittman, a national youth development expert and founder of the nonprofit Forum for Youth Investment.

“We’ve now got both the evidence and the brain science, and we’ve really got the sophistication in terms of our training and supports,” she said. “We’re pretty close to being able to get to a place where we can talk about youth development and out-of-school programs as critical, contributing partners to young people’s learning and development,” she said.

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