The article is part of our series of blog posts featuring each of the individuals and/or organizations selected for the National AfterSchool Association’s Most Influential in Health and Wellness for afterschool. The Walking Classroom proudly sponsored the competition because of our strong belief in the value of afterschool programs and the importance of promoting healthier lifestyles for all kids.
Our next honoree is:
National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST)
Wellesley, Massachusetts | niost.org
NIOST’s mission is to ensure that all children, youth, and families have access to high quality programs, activities, and opportunities. They believe that these experiences are essential to the healthy development of children and youth, who then can become effective and capable members of society.
Their work bridges the worlds of research and practice. They provide evaluations, consultation, and training to create innovative and effective solutions to out-of-school time needs on a local, state, regional, and national basis.
NIOST first brought national attention to the importance of OST programming in the 1970s as a strategy to help women enter and stay in the workforce. Since then, we have focused on the ways in which OST programs can build on the work of schools, especially in high-need communities, to improve children’s wellbeing and life prospects. NIOST’s work bridges the worlds of research and practice. We advance the field of OST by:
- Influencing policy
- Guiding community action to make OST programs more available and sustainable
- Developing research-based standards for OST programs and practitioners
- Enhancing the leadership, youth development, and quality improvement skills of practitioners and program managers
- Showing OST programs how to continuously improve through evaluation and discussion with all stakeholders
- Building OST systems in cities, states, and regions across the nation
Selections were made by NAA based on strong advocacy for and support of health and wellness in afterschool. Those selected represent individuals and organizations whose service, action, and leadership align with and support the NAA Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) Standards and affect large numbers of youth, families, or afterschool professionals.