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The commission will craft the vision and strategies needed to ensure that Minnesota's youth--ages 8 to 18--have engaging opportunities to learn and develop while away from school.

Keeping Minnesota youths busy

by University News Service

From eNews, December 4, 2003

Most young people in America have nearly 2,000 hours of discretionary time without structure or supervision each year, according to the Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development. University of Minnesota President Bob Bruininks is creating a commission to study the role that time away from school plays in a young person's learning and development. Bruininks will announce the formation of the Minnesota Commission on Out-of-School Time on Friday, Dec. 5. The commission will craft the vision and strategies needed to ensure that Minnesota's youth--ages 8 to 18--have engaging opportunities to learn and develop while away from school. "How and where young people are spending their out-of-school time is a major concern for working families, businesses, communities, schools, and neighborhoods throughout Minnesota," says Bruininks. Research indicates that students who participate in after-school programs have better school attendance, better grades and test scores, and a more positive attitude toward schoolwork. Time spent in dance lessons, sports programs, summer programs, and similar constructive activities also make a difference. The commission, which will include parents, researchers, and community members who plan youth activities, will convene in January 2004 and meet five times during the year. The U's Center for 4-H Youth Development will guide and support the commission's work and funding will come from the McKnight Foundation, the Minnesota Department of Education, and the University of Minnesota Extension Service. This commission serves as a major action step in Bruininks's Initiative on Children, Youth, and Families, a three-year effort to focus the University's expertise and public attention on the needs of children, youth, and families. To learn more about the initiative, see http://www.umn.edu/pres/cyf.html.

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