Past Press Releases

Boston-area Youth Workers to Graduate with New Credential


June 16, 2008

Ellen Gannett, Director of the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) at the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW), and founding member of the Achieve Boston collaboration, is pleased to announce that the first students participating in the School Age and Youth Development (SAYD) credential program—a new program that aims to strengthen youth workers’ skills and knowledge, as well as promote career advancement—will celebrate the program’s completion on June 19 at 7:00 pm, in Ryan Lounge at the University of Massachusetts-Boston.  

To earn the SAYD credential, the students must have completed 18 months of college coursework, community-based training, and direct field experience related to youth work. The program participants took courses in child and adolescent development through Urban College, University of Massachusetts-Boston, and Cambridge College. Ranging in age from early 20s to mid 40s and with a range from a few years to decades of experience in education and afterschool care of children and youth, they are early and mid-career afterschool and youth work educators, aspiring to greater leadership in the out-of-school time sector. Their education and experience as SAYD credential program participants will have a direct and immediate impact on their work with children, youth, and families.

The graduates represent some of the best small and large organizations serving children and youth in Boston including the YMCA, the Boys & Girls Clubs, Bird Street Community Center, Boston Center for Youth & Families, Teen Empowerment, United South End Settlements, and Boston Asian YES. Most of the school age programs that employ the participants are licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and are located both inside schools and in the community. Many SAYD students participated in after school programs as youth themselves, some in the very same programs where they continue to work.

Says Gannett, “This first group of dedicated youth workers will pave the way for others to seek youth work as an important career choice. Their commitment to college-level study, reflection, and writing about their practice will inspire many colleges both here in the Greater Boston area and across the country to build youth work as a discipline.”

The SAYD credential program is the result of over three years of development by Achieve Boston and its partners, including NIOST.  Achieve Boston is a collaborative effort of leading out-of-school-time organizations. Its founding partners came together in the summer of 2001, with the Barr Foundation’s support, to begin the process of creating a professional development infrastructure for after-school and youth workers across the city. For more than 30 years, the National Institute on Out-of-School Time at the Wellesley Centers for Women has been dedicated to moving the afterschool field forward through its research, education and training, consultation, and field-building. Since 1974, scholars at WCW have helped shape a better world through their social science research projects and training programs.

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