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Boys Benefit From After-School Leaders to Whom They Relate

Empowerment groups can help at-risk boys improve their self-image, behavior, and future outlooks, says a study in the latest Afterschool Matters journal, published by the National Institute on Out-of-School Timeat Wellesley College.

The article, "Growing Boys: Implementing a Boys' Empowerment Group in Afterschool Programs," draws its findings about boys' empowerment groups for at-risk males from a case study of an after-school group for middle school boys in the Northeast. Researchers found that weekly meetings with a positive adult role model improved the participants' attitudes, helped them manage anger, and led to more positive social interactions and general behavior.

The study concludes that the most successful empowerment groups had the "right adult leaders," or leaders that had strong communication skills, kept the group curriculum informal, were well connected to outside organizations and support networks, and were relatable to students, given the leader's background and sociodemographic status.

In addition to the boys' empowerment article, the Afterschool Matters journal features articles on how self-assessment can help after-school programs improve, what qualities programs should seek in after-school employees to build a sustainable and high-caliber staff, and how after-school programs are important in teaching and improving English-language learners' command of English.

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