Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

New York State Network for Youth Success’ Statement of Commitment:

For more than two decades, the New York State Network for Youth Success has recognized the impact of structural and systemic inequities on historically marginalized youth, families, and communities.  As a result, the Network has been fighting to increase access to high-quality programs in New York State.

We believe that access to high-quality afterschool, summer, and expanded learning opportunities is essential for closing the opportunity gap and challenging inequity. We also believe that providing safe and welcoming spaces are essential to allow all children to reach their full potential.

Through ongoing development of our staff and leadership, we ensure the Network’s resources and services are intentionally addressing issues of equity and inclusion. We are committed to helping afterschool, summer, and expanded learning programs strengthen their practice through capacity building and training.

To support the field, we engage in staff development, share resources around a wide variety of issues related to diversity and equity, and disseminate current, relevant research to enable programs to create safe and caring environments. We also work with state and local organizations to help frame policy and engage in advocacy to ensure that providers are intentionally supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion.

As for all students, participation in out-of-school time and expanded learning programs provides students with disabilities the opportunity to become a part of an inclusive environment where they receive extended academic support, partake in extracurricular activities such as sports and arts, develop meaningful relationships with students and adults they may not typically interact with during the school day, and gain greater self-awareness, self-confidence, and appropriate social and emotional skills.

Inclusion is the practice of teaching or including students with disabilities in the same space and programming as students who do not have disabilities. Practicing inclusion means treating students with disabilities as similarly to those without disabilities as possible, ensuring a welcoming and supportive environment for all students. In many situations, inclusion simply requires sensitivity to the needs of individual students –a mindset important to working with all students­– rather than any major changes to the program structure or space.

To learn more about what you can do to run an inclusive afterschool program, see Including All Students: Frequently Asked Questions About Including Students with Disabilities in Afterschool and Summer Programs. This FAQ was developed with the help of the New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, the New York State Disabilities Advocacy Association and Network and other experts on inclusion practices. Network for Youth Success would like to extend a big thank you to all those who contributed!

ACT for Youth provides a resource on assessing unconscious bias among youth work professionals and addresses how supervisors and directors can build cultural competence among program staff.

New York State Equity Report

The National Afterschool Association (NAA) convened a series of leadership conversations focused on creating a culture of professionalization in afterschool. Said discussions included one concerning the need to build a leadership pipeline and to foster more diverse leadership, starting with a focus on supporting and retaining leaders from minoritized racial and ethnic backgrounds. These leader-focused discussions were a natural next step

in NAA’s long track record of commitment to equity and advocacy for the professionalization of the afterschool field, including through the development of Core Knowledge and Competencies for Afterschool and Youth Development Professionals, and by annually honoring the Next Generation of Afterschool Leaders.

NAA is now elevating the importance of building a diverse leadership pipeline through the launch of a Professional Learning Community (PLC) in spring 2020, with grant support from the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and in partnership with the California SchoolAge Consortium (CalSAC) and Development Without Limits (DWL). NAA also engaged Policy Studies Associates (PSA) and Public Profit as learning and research partners.

In January NAA released a report on equity across New York state. This report was researched and authored by PSA and leverages interview and survey data from Public Profit, results from a collaborative effort intended to frame efforts to embrace, support, and retain afterschool leaders of color.

Check out the full report by clicking on the link here.

Useful Resources

Below find useful books, websites, and organizations!


Talking to Kids About Racism and Justice: a list for parents, caregivers & educators

Find a variety of resources on how to discuss racism and justice with kids of all ages. Find books for children from toddlers to 7th and up. This site also features impactful articles, videos, and websites to ensure that you have as much information as possible on this important and difficult topic.  Click here to learn more!

George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. What do we tell our children?

This article published in USA Today on May 31, 2020 was written by Alia E. Dastagir. Read the article here.

How to talk to kids about race, privilege amid George Floyd protests

Good Morning America’s story from June 1, 2020, written by Katie Kindelan & Sarah Lang, is available here.

Talking to Kids about Discrimination

Learn more from the American Psychological Association here.

How to Talk to Kids about Race and Racism

Parent Toolkit provides answers here.

Equity and Inclusion: An Action Agenda for Youth Development Professionals

This article by Jennifer Siaca Curry appears in Afterschool Matters.

Changemakers! Practitioners Advance Equity and Access in Out-of-School Time Programs

This book, edited by Sara Hill and Femi Vance, is part of a series Current Issues in Out-of-School Time.

To elevate equity, diversity, and inclusion, go deeper into your quality standards

This Afterschool Snack blog from the Afterschool Alliance is focused on afterschool programs.

Anti-Racisim Resources

This list was put together by Indvisible.

Anguish and Action

A list of resources shared by the Obama Foundation.

Four Things to Remember About Supporting LGBTQ Youth

Want to learn more about how to be supportive and inclusive of LGBTQ youth? Eileen Wise, a youth development specialist at Penn State Better Kid Care and primary author of the PYD series, shares four things to keep in mind. Click here.

Inclusiveness: Building Stronger Connections

Many people who find themselves drawn to working with youth do so because they had a positive experience with an adult role model during their own childhood. Others enter youth work because they want to be that person — the one they needed growing up. More often than not, youth workers are able to see themselves in the young people they work with. This website offers articles on assessing bias, addressing bias, creating inclusive environments as well as activities and lesson plans to facilitate these conservations. Find more information by clicking here!

LATINO YOUTH OUTREACH: Best Practices Toolkit

Click here to learn more about Latino Youth Outreach and the best practices around it. This Toolkit was created by The National 4-H Council in partnership with their National 4­H Council Hispanic Advisory Committee. Click here to access this toolkit.

Educator Guides for GLSEN Programs

Planning for Back to School? Looking for ways to support Day of Silence? Interested in being more LGBTQ-inclusive during pride month? Check out GLSEN’s website for specific tools and tips related to GLSEN programs, days of action and more! Ready to supplement your curriculum? Explore our LGBTQ-Inclusive and Bullying, Bias & Diversity lesson plans and more by clicking here!

Resources and Supports for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning College Students

Choosing a college or university that will welcome and support students is a critical question for prospective students. This webpage features a list of schools, as well as resources and links, for LGBTQ students and their families to make good decisions in where to go for higher education.

Creating Safe, Equitable, Engaging Schools: A Comprehensive, Evidence-Based Approach to Supporting Students

Safe and supportive school communities foster students’ social, emotional, and academic needs. Educators want actionable strategies and practices to ensure that all students can access equitable learning environments. Creating Safe, Equitable, Engaging Schools helps school leaders make sense of the various evidence-based resources and frameworks designed to support the whole child. Addressing critical topics like restorative practices, cultural responsiveness, social and emotional learning, and family engagement, this volume offers insights on how leaders can leverage school-based teams to assess student needs and select appropriate interventions. Click here to learn more!

Diversity Toolkit: A Guide to Discussing Identity, Power and Privilege

This toolkit is meant for anyone who feels there is a lack of productive discourse around issues of diversity and the role of identity in social relationships, both on a micro (individual) and macro (communal) level. Perhaps you are a teacher, youth group facilitator, student affairs personnel or manage a team that works with an underserved population. Training of this kind can provide historical context about the politics of identity and the dynamics of power and privilege or help build greater self-awareness. Click here to learn more!

Look Different Toolkits

Use Look Different’s educational resources to help start a conversation on racial, gender, and anti-LGBT bias. To learn more, click here!

Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide

All over the country people are fighting hate, standing up to promote tolerance and inclusion. More often than not, when hate flares up, good people rise up against it — often in greater numbers and with stronger voices. This guide from the Southern Poverty Law Center sets out 10 principles for fighting hate in your community. Click here to find out how you can help fight hate in your community!

Anti-Bias Tools & Strategies

This page by the Anti-Defamation League offers additional resources that provide a wide range of tips, tools, strategies and lessons for K-12 educators, administrators, students and family members to promote safe, respectful and inclusive learning environments. Find more information by clicking here!

The Teaching Transgender Toolkit

As an increasing number of transgender people come out, there is an increased need for the provision of culturally competent and fully inclusive trainings to help create a world that is more affirming of transgender people. This is a critical time for transgender people and related rights – the backlash toward greater acceptance of people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual is being targeted toward transgender people.  As we see from places like Houston, Texas, fear, misinformation, and ignorance about transgender people are being used as a catalyst for campaigns to strip transgender people of their rights.  Education and training is an essential component in protecting and expanding the rights of transgender people.  Up until now, there have been limited resources available for facilitators and trainers to use while leading these efforts.  To address this gap, Dr. Eli R. Green & Luca Maurer, MS, have written The Teaching Transgender Toolkit: A Facilitator’s Guide to Increasing Knowledge, Decreasing Prejudice & Building Skills.

Resources to Help You Protect Immigrants

These guides and toolkits were developed by United We Dream and/or our partners across the country. Use them to drive local impact in your community to ensure protections and inclusivity for immigrant communities. Access these toolkits here!

Teaching about Controversial or Difficult Issues

Teachers often avoid “hot-button” topics because the issues are so complex, or because they don’t feel prepared to handle the strong feelings and opinions discussion might stir. Morningside Center offers 10 suggestions for how to take some of these issues on in constructive, thoughtful and sensitive ways. Find more information here!


Pearson Clinical Assessment Solutions: A Dyslexia Toolkit, Kristina Breaux, PhD, and Tina Eichstadt, MS CCC-SLP

Up to 1-in-5 people exhibit symptoms of dyslexia, a very common language-based reading disorder.
Although developing and implementing an evidence-based assessment and intervention plan is crucial, very often the most important factor is early identification. Pearson’s dyslexia toolkit includes clinical and classroom resources for screening, diagnostic evaluations, intervention, and progress monitoring. Included are tools that can be used across a wide range of professional groups and user qualification levels. View the toolkit here.

Culturally-Responsive Teaching and the Brain, Zaretta Hammond

To close the achievement gap, diverse classrooms need a proven framework for optimizing student engagement. Culturally responsive instruction has shown promise, but many teachers have struggled with its implementation―until now.In this book, Zaretta Hammond draws on cutting-edge neuroscience research to offer an innovative approach for designing and implementing brain-compatible culturally responsive instruction. For more information, click here!

Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?, Beverly Daniel Tatum

Walk into any racially mixed high school and you will see Black, White, and Latino youth clustered in their own groups. Is this self-segregation a problem to address or a coping strategy? Beverly Daniel Tatum, a renowned authority on the psychology of racism, argues that straight talk about our racial identities is essential if we are serious about enabling communication across racial and ethnic divides. These topics have only become more urgent as the national conversation about race is increasingly acrimonious. This fully revised edition is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the dynamics of race in America. Click here to learn more!

For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood… And the Rest of Ya’ll Too, Christopher Emdin

Merging real stories with theory, research, and practice, a prominent scholar offers a new approach to teaching and learning for every stakeholder in urban education. Drawing on his own experience of feeling undervalued and invisible in classrooms as a young man of color and merging his experiences with more than a decade of teaching and researching in urban America, award-winning educator Christopher Emdin offers a new lens on an approach to teaching and learning in urban schools. For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood…and the Rest of Y’all Too is the much-needed antidote to traditional top-down pedagogy and promises to radically reframe the landscape of urban education for the better. Putting forth his theory of Reality Pedagogy, Emdin provides practical tools to unleash the brilliance and eagerness of youth and educators alike—both of whom have been typecast and stymied by outdated modes of thinking about urban education. More information on this book can be found here!

Equity in Action: Prioritizing and Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities

The purpose of this information memorandum (IM) is to state the Administration for Children and Families’ (ACF) unequivocal commitment to advancing racial equity for all. ACF strongly encourages its grantees to assess and address how its programs and policies may perpetuate systemic barriers for children and families of color. This IM calls for transformational leadership at all levels to ensure that Americans of all racial and ethnic backgrounds can reach their full potential. See below resources and addendums to support racial equity.

Resources in support of racial equity


Racial Equity Definitions

Equity Action plan

NCASE Equity Resource

The Equity Planning Checklist is designed to support out-of-school (OST) time programs and organizations in fully assessing policies and practices that foster equity. This checklist includes guiding questions to consider during systemwide equity planning and implementation. Find the checklist here.


Webinar: From Prevention to Diversion: The Role of Afterschool in the Juvenile Justice System

Thursday, Jun 4, 2020 02:00 PM ET
Hosted by: The Afterschool Alliance

In the United States, involvement with the juvenile justice system can have a long-lasting negative impact on a person’s life. When youth are placed in detention facilities, their education, ties to society, and lives are disrupted; yet any involvement with the justice system—regardless of incarceration—can have implications for one’s future career and educational opportunities.

Afterschool and summer learning programs can mitigate risk and support the development of protective factors that help keep young people out of the juvenile justice system, as well as serve as an alternative to detention. Join this webinar for a conversation with three programs spotlighted in an upcoming Afterschool Alliance issue brief, “From Prevention to Diversion: The Role of Afterschool in the Juvenile Justice System,” to hear how they have successfully implemented afterschool programs that serve as a support for youth at risk of becoming involved or currently involved with the juvenile justice system. This webinar will explore the ways afterschool programs leverage programming opportunities, partnerships, and coordinated efforts to keep young people safe, connect them to the supports they need, and help build protective factors and positive social relationships that lead to bright futures.


  • Christy Gallese, Director of Burlington Expanded Learning Opportunities
  • Catherine Gunderson, Executive Director, The Center for Restorative Youth Justice
  • Kaylee Milliner, Center Coordinator, Promise South Salt Lake’s Hser Ner Moo Community and Welcome Center
  • Erin Hegarty, Executive Associate, Afterschool Alliance