U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

After-School Pursuits: An Examination of Outcomes in the San Francisco Beacon Initiative

NCJ Number
Karen E. Walker; Amy J. A. Arbreton
Date Published
March 2004
133 pages
This document discusses the evaluation of the San Francisco Beacon Initiative, a school-based after-school program.
Inspired by the New York City Beacon centers, and concerned about low-income youth’s poor outcomes, the initiative’s founders wanted to offer young people a broad range of enrichment opportunities in five core programming areas: education, career development, arts and recreation, leadership, and health. Eight Beacon centers are now located in public schools. Data for this evaluation of three of the five centers were collected from multiple sources, including a Web-based management information system, in-school surveys, observations, feedback forms, staff surveys, and interviews and focus groups. The results of the evaluation concluded that the Beacon Centers were well supported, well staffed, and well implemented. The Beacon Centers recruited many young people, including the academically needy. Young people attended the centers between one and three times a week. Youth had positive experiences at the centers; staff practices that contributed to positive experiences were identified. Participation in the Beacon centers appeared to play a protective role for young people, deterring a typical decline among middle-school youth in self-efficacy and the effort they put into school. Despite the centers being well planned, well-supported, well staffed, and well implemented, and despite young people’s positive experiences at the centers, Beacon participants did not fare better academically than their non-Beacon peers. The findings suggest that after-school programs can attract and serve large numbers of ethnically diverse and academically needy youth, with a broad range of high-quality activities. 60 endnotes, 62 references, 7 appendices