New Book Tells the Stories of Youth Development Professionals

November 9, 2022

The Heartbeat of the Youth Development Field: Professional Journeys of Growth, Connection, and TransformationNIOST is pleased to announce the release of The Heartbeat of the Youth Development Field: Professional Journeys of Growth, Connection, and Transformation. Through research and personal essays, the book shines a light on the intricate connections between research and practice, touching upon both the vulnerability and triumph of youth development work. The passionate voices of youth workers in this volume lead to the inescapable conclusion that programs and policies for youth must be informed by these same voices and the values they express.

“We hope this book shows out-of-school time (OST) workers, researchers, funders, and policymakers, as well as other education professionals, how youth workers’ lived experiences inspire their ability to build the relationships that are the foundation of positive and healthy youth development,” said NIOST Director Georgia Hall, Ph.D., a co-editor of the book along with Jan Gallagher, Ph.D., and NIOST Research Associate Elizabeth Starr, M.Ed. “From relationships comes engagement, and from engagement, transformation—centered in equity, inclusion, and belonging. No one is better able to advocate for these truths than the professionals who work with young people to bring positive change to their lives, their communities, and our world.”

Other OST and youth workers will see their own stories reflected in the practitioner essays. The research chapters and essays alike will be valuable resources to faculty leaders of university OST and youth work graduate and certificate programs, as well as to program leaders and others who conduct professional development for OST staff.

“The Heartbeat of the Youth Development Field: Professional Journeys of Growth, Connection, and Transformation is a timely discussion about what we in the out-of-school time and youth development field know already—that this work is an integral part of the success, survival, and thriving of youth,” said Ebony Grace, CEO of NJSACC: The Statewide Network for New Jersey’s Afterschool Communities. “This book will be a catalyst for ensuring the professionalization of our field and additional support and resources for out-of-school time and youth development professionals.”

Order the book now


    "NIOST has been an anchor for numerous school age care projects we do, including ASQ (After-School Quality) and Links to Learning. They are a nationally respected organization that Pennsylvania has partnered with for over 20 years."

    – Betsy O. Saatman, TA Specialist/SAC Initiatives, Pennsylvania Key

    "NIOST was a core partner in supporting the development of quality improvement systems across the nine cities that participated in The Wallace Foundation Next Generation Afterschool System-Building Initiative. The NIOST team worked well with other technical assistance partners in the initiative, always willing to pitch in and collaborate with others to make our professional learning community meetings a team effort. I truly hope the Foundation has an opportunity to partner with them in the future."

    – Priscilla M. Little, Initiative Manager, The Wallace Foundation


    "NIOST has been a leader in the out-of-school time field for as long as I can remember, and I have relied on their research, tools, and advice to improve my practice throughout my career. Their staff members are good partners and good listeners, and their influence across the country is palpable."

    – Jane Quinn, Vice President and Director of National Center for Community Schools, Children's Aid Society

    "Georgia Hall, Ellen Gannett, and the NIOST team have been instrumental in driving the healthy afterschool movement. Their dedication to quality practice, informed policy, and collective impact is instrumental in our effort to create healthier communities."

    – Daniel W. Hatcher, Director, Community Partnerships, Alliance for a Healthier Generation

niost logo white

The National Institute on Out-of-School Time

A program of the Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College

Wellesley Centers for Women
Wellesley College
106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481-8203 USA
Directions to NIOST

Our website uses cookies to enhance your experience. By continuing to use our site, or clicking "Continue", you are agreeing to our privacy policy.
Continue Privacy Policy