Youth Perspectives on Staff Turnover in Afterschool Programs
By Patricia McGuiness-Carmichael
Relationships with staff are crucial to participants’ growth in youth development programs. These programs help young people develop social and emotional competencies including relationship building, defined as “the ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups” (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, 2017). In my work in afterschool programs, I experience firsthand how lasting relationships between staff and the youth and families they serve are central to the work. Staff become a touchpoint and a steady presence: connecting youth to opportunities, listening to them, and supporting them simply by being there.