Build Afterschool - Building capacity to serve children and youth
We are thrilled to introduce you to a new place for resources, ideas and networking about afterschool programming and nonprofit organizational development. Build Afterschool represents the work of a group of high-level consultants who have a wide range of experience in developing and managing aspects of afterschool, summer and other out-of-school time programs for children and youth. We are fueled by a deep passion for this work and believe strongly that what can be provided during out-of-school time hours is a critical ingredient in the full development of children and youth.
This site is designed to provide information about our specialized services, both for individuals and groups. We provide expert assistance in program, staff and organizational development - the critical areas of quality service delivery.
Though our work we hope to increase the capacity of nonprofits to provide high quality services consistently  through sustained operations. We believe that every nonprofit has the potential to rise to high standards of quality, but most need support to reach and maintain quality.
The key features of our approach are:
  1. Youth development framework
  2. Varied content knowledge
  3. Practical field experience
This site will provide an overview about our services, our client work and additional resources to support your work. Please contact us for additional information about how we can tailor our services to meet you needs.
Communications for Nonprofit Sustainability
" We always knew communications was important to our organization, now we have the tools...." Workshop participant, TASI 7th Annual Regional Conference, May 11 and 12, 2011.
Recently, Meeta Sharma-Holt partnered with Michelle Bishop of Collaborative Communications Group to offer an in depth workshop at the 7th Annual Regional Afterschool Conference, hosted by The Afterschool Institute in Baltimore, MD.
Through this workshop, Ms. Sharma-Holt and Ms. Bishop helped nonprofit executives understand the importance of an intentional and strategically developed communications plan, especially in times of fiscal downturn. The workshop helped participants prepare a well-thought out plan that included the following steps:
GDetermine your goals for communications
A Choose your target audience 
M– What message do you want to convey?
S What is your strategy for meeting your goals?
I  Implement your activities    
E – Evaluate your progress
The standing room only workshop also provided experience in creating a key message using a message map tool.  Much of the discussion centered around the use of "old school" vs. "new school" communications techniques. The presenters were clear that any strategy needs to be appropriate for a particular audience and able to be sustained, not just chosen because it is a new idea. Some traditional techniques such as hand written notes, phone calls and paper materials still have a lot of impact.
Finally, participants received a host of resources  and a template for creating a communications strategy.  
Download the handouts from the workshop below:
Samplemessagemap.doc (DOC — 177 KB)
NEW Resources
Engaging Older Youth.  The Harvard Family Research Project compiled a study of 200 programs in six cities, serving middle and high school-aged youth. The findings are practical and relevant to almost any organization attempting to engage middle and high school youth.
Researchers found five key characteristics of highly successful retention and recruitment strategies:
  1. Providing leadership opportunities to the students
  2. Having staff members who stay informed about students’ lives outside of programs
  3. Being community-based
  4. Enrolling 100 or more youth
  5. Holding regular staff meetings
Read the full report by following the link available in the Resources section of this site.
About Build Afterschool's Founder
Meeta Sharma-Holt, MSW
Meeta leverages over 20 years of experience developing, managing and monitoring programs and services for children and youth. A graduate of Columbia University School of Social Work, Meeta began her career developing corporate mentoring programs and managing multi-site afterschool and summer programs in New York City. In the Washington, D.C. area, she has developed  a citywide model of afterschool program delivery, now implemented in all 112 DC Public Schools and has assisted over twenty charter school sites to develop their afterschool services. Meeta brings her energy, experience and passion for children and youth services to small and large nonprofits seeking strategic guidance and skill building.
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