NAA's 32,000 members represent diverse voices, roles, and experiences but are united in a commitment to quality programs for children, families, and communities. We must not allow our field to be penalized for our passion. We must seize the opportunity to shape a different future for our field - one which values OST programs and recognizes, rewards, and provides professionals with the job quality commensurate with their contributions and impact.
It will take a collaborative effort with all stakeholders --including the very professionals who do this work--to cultivate a broader cultural shift that respects and values the significant influence of this essential workforce. Our field needs actions that support quality afterschool and adequate, holistic compensation for carrying this invaluable workforce forward. So, don't wait, advocate!
Contributed by Heidi Ham, VP of Programs and Strategy, National AfterSchool Association.