Table of Contents

Representative Staff and Faculty Support

Youth Voice

Parent Participation 

Future Considerations

Additional Recommended Resources

Steps for Action: Recommendations for How to Build a Culturally Constructive Education for Youth


A word cloud, with most frequently used terms in our recommendations section.

Our survey findings and literature review convey that culturally responsive practices are the top priority for the functioning of quality, effective after-school programming. To build spaces for culturally affirmative learning at the Boys and Girls Club of Hartford, our team has analyzed features of robust out-of-school time programs to organize a list of core recommendations that help make the benefits of culturally constructive education possible for a diverse group of youth, especially for minority children in urban settings.


Portrait of teenage African-American boy doing homework or studying at home while sitting at desk with father helping him
Source: Seventyfour
  1. Representative Staff and Faculty Support

  • Maintaining a representative set of program leaders who can facilitate and lead culturally responsive activities

-Leaders who reflect the ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, or other components of program member identities, experiences, and backgrounds

Example: Black male teachers teaching Black boys

  • Maintaining a staff of highly qualified professionals who are trained to speak on culture and community issues

-Staff who are trained to navigate complex conversations within culturally constructive curriculums, and work consistently with diverse groups of youth

Example: Staff who actively participate in professional development workshops surrounding culturally constructive curriculums and diverse groups of youth

  • Maintaining a staff who are driven by culturally responsive learning projects

-Not only a body of staff who are willing to carry out exercises, but a staff committed to teaching diversity, equity, and inclusion to youth

Example: Staff who ask youth open ended questions about their feelings and interests after they complete program activities


  • Robust relationships building between youth and staff
  • Youth feel comfortable to offer ideas, comments, and opinions in collaborative group workshops
  • Youth receive accurate information and resources surrounding culture and community issues 
Asian business people meeting conference and brainstorming in modern office, writing on sticky note on glass wall
Source: Nattakorn

2. Youth Voice

  • Maintaining agency for youth within the learning environment 

-Protecting the learning environment as a guaranteed safe space for youth to share experiences and thoughts

Example: Allowing youth a welcoming atmosphere to discuss the misconceptions about their cultures that may stereotype them and their identities

  • Maintaining the learning environment as a space for youth to explore their critical consciousness

-Protecting the learning environment as a place where youth can share about historical and modern social issues

Example: Allowing youth a safe space to learn about gentrification at the community level

  • Maintaining opportunities for youth leadership in culturally responsive activities

-Including youth feedback in planning culturally responsive activities, and encouraging youth to engage in decision-making processes

Example: Presenting youth the opportunity to establish councils with other members of the programming, allowing them a space to spread awareness about social issues and amplify group needs to program coordinators

  • Maintaining opportunities for youth creativity in culturally responsive activities

-Encouraging youth to use their imagination to make meaning of events, ideas, and their self-identity through positive outlets such as art

Example: Include opportunities for youth to work with paint to illustrate their self-identity and celebrate their individuality


  • Youth feel a sense of belonging
  • Youth feel welcomed to share about the inequalities they face in shared communities
  • Youth are present and excited to engage in culturally constructive education
  • Youth are made available empowering spaces to engage in culturally affirmative education
  • Youth feel invited to express themselves and trust in others
Mother And Teenage Daughter Looking At Laptop Together
Source: Pololia

3. Parent Participation

  • Maintaining communication between program providers and parents 

-Ensuring that parents are aware of the concepts students are taught in their culturally constructive education

Example: Allotting the final 10 minutes of program time to youth and staff to share with parents what activities were completed, and share what projects are next on the program agenda 

  • Providing opportunities for youth to engage in culturally responsive activities with care providers and trusted adults

-Creating outlets for parents to recognize and support youth progress as they gain a culturally constructive education 

Example: Offering exercises where youth and their care providers can discuss church teachings, acknowledging how religion may intersect with parent values for member education


  • Youth feel inspired to apply culturally responsive mindsets and positive social behaviors to their lives outside of organized, supervised learning spaces
  • Youth feel validated in their experiences with culturally constructive education

Future Considerations

    • Outcomes of culturally responsiveness recommendations build upon each other

-After-school program providers should consider using multiple recommendations as positive activity outcomes mutually influence each other.

    • The outcomes from each recommendation are limitless

-While these recommendations outlines potential positive outcomes for implementing our suggestions, each recommendation may offer additional unintended benefits. 

    • Recommendations can be modified to meet the specific needs and capacities of the BGCH.

-The BGCH is encouraged to adapt these recommendations as they see fit. 

For more information on how recommendations can be applied, visit our activity library

Additional recommended resources:

The Mizzen App: An online resource that provides K-12 learning resources with a focus on out-of-school activities. The app is consistently updated with new programming. 
Education Website: A digital resource with a wide variety of lesson plans for Black History Month (many of which can be adapted for After School Programs)
Nurturing Anti-Racist Kids: A website by Rebekah Gienapp with critically constructed antiracism and cultural resources for youth
Spanish Mama Website: An online platform with resources for teaching and learning about Hispanic Heritage
























































Deprecated: Directive 'allow_url_include' is deprecated in Unknown on line 0