International Development, Community, and Environment


Leveraging Resources to Promote Positive School-CBO Relationships

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Many afterschool programs operated by neighborhood or community-based organizations (CBOs) take place in students' school buildings. Navigating relationships between afterschool programs and their host public schools can be challenging for both parties. At times, tension in such relationships can throw unnecessary roadblocks on the path to achieving successful and enriching youth programming. Connecting, coordinating, and leveraging the resources of both schools and CBOs, however, can enable both institutions to develop and implement effective afterschool programs (Blank & Langford, 2000). Ferguson and Dickens (1999) delineate four primary forms of resources or assets necessary for any community development organization to accomplish its goals and achieve its outcomes: (1) Physical resources: concrete assets such as buildings, tools, or materials; (2) Financial resources: money and funding streams; (3) Social resources: the norms, shared understandings, and trust inherent in strong relationships among various actors; and (4) Intellectual resources: the skills, knowledge, and competence of main stakeholders such as teachers and program staff. This review article uses the Ferguson and Dickens resource framework to examine how CBOs and schools have leveraged their resources to achieve their common goal: the increased learning and positive development of youth in their care. The review draws on rich evaluation data harvested from the Harvard Family Research Project's (HFRP's) Out-of-School Time Program Evaluation Database to provide examples of afterschool programs that have successfully navigated the challenges of sharing resources with schools.

Publication Title

AfterSchool Matters

Publication Date

Spring 2004



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after school programs, school community programs, school community relationship, community programs, community organizations, program evaluation, shared resources and services, expertise, professional development