Watch: Afterschool Matters Dialogue on Belonging and Human-Centered Work
February 17, 2021
On February 11, 2021, the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) hosted a webinar as part of the Afterschool Matters Dialogue series. The webinar was moderated by NIOST Director and WCW Research Scientist Georgia Hall, Ph.D., and was titled, “Belonging and Human-Centered Work.” It discussed out-of-school time (OST) as a means of promoting a sense of belonging, which is central to achieving equitable outcomes for children and youth.
The webinar featured presentations from two National Afterschool Matters Fellows. Priscilla Parchia, a program manager for Expanded Learning with the Oakland Unified School District in California, opened her presentation by asking, “What contributes to a sense of belonging in the afterschool program?” and “What is belonging?”
Parchia then presented the results of her research, which emphasized the importance of a sense of belonging to a child’s wellbeing. Belonging increased self-esteem and confidence as well as school engagement and connections to adults. According to Parchia, a lack of this sense of belonging can negatively impact a child’s perception of themself and their motivation to learn.
The second speaker was Brittany Jacobs, a youth librarian at Anythink Perl Mack, an innovative public library in Denver, Colorado. Jacobs presented on human-centered librarians and started by asking, “Where can those kids who don’t have a spot in an OST setting turn to?”
She then explained that libraries are one of the last places where we are allowed to simply exist without the expectation of purchasing something and highlighted the differences between data-centered and human-centered librarians. She discussed the importance of public libraries as an OST space and included personal anecdotes as well as calls for collaboration with OST professionals. Jacobs described her library as an intentional space where kids are encouraged to bring their whole selves. She also shared resources for collaborations between libraries and OST programs.
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