WHAT ARE OUT-OF-SCHOOL TIME (OST) PROGRAMS
OST programs are opportunities outside the classroom for children and youth to play, learn, and grow. They take place before or after school, on the weekends, or during summer and holiday breaks. No two OST programs are alike -- they can be delivered at schools, churches, or recreation centers, and they can involve many types of activities, including art, sports, theater, dance, STEM, and many others.
While these programs keep our region’s youth learning, active, and healthy, they also keep them safe from risky situations they may experience without the presence of a trusted adult, safe place, and positive activity.
OST programs have been found to keep kids motivated to learn. They also promote improved health, which in turn leads to positive effects on cognitive learning, social skills, and overall physical and mental health.
The goal of the Borderland Out of School Time (BOOST) Network is to increase the quality and knowledge of OST programs across the region in order to expand the number of youth enrolled in OST programming.
For almost five years, the BOOST Network has been supporting OST providers in the Paso del Norte Region. We held our inaugural meeting in December 2015 with representation from twelve organizations. Throughout the years, we have provided professional development and networking opportunities that focus on diversity, innovation, continuous improvement, and quality programming. Since our first meeting, the Network has grown to include more than 90 OST providers and support organization professionals in Ciudad Juarez, El Paso, and across Southern New Mexico.
By working with our members, the BOOST Network also strives to improve and increase out-of-school time opportunities for youth in the region. In 2021, the BOOST Network will launch a new effort that will provide information and resources for parents and youth to find quality OST programs in the region.
The BOOST Network is a collaborative community that supports quality OST programs, encourages youth enrollment and engagement in OST activities, and shares best practices and resources that help our youth thrive.
OUR CORE VALUES
Across the Paso del Norte region, our BOOST Network members represent shared common values and instill those values in youth they serve. These core values guide our member organizations in their individual missions and programming as part of the unified goal of improving outcomes for the region’s youth and families.
OUR FOUR CORE VALUES
We believe that bringing individuals and organizations from diverse backgrounds together allows us to better serve our youth collectively.
We inspire new ideas and creative thinking to discover new ways of engaging our youth to help them succeed.
We are committed to the continued improvement of OST programming to meet our region’s changing needs and improve the mental and physical health of the youth in our region.
We create a culture of excellence as a network that promotes the best experiences for youth and families in OST programming.
As a regional health leader, the Paso del Norte Health Foundation (Health Foundation) has supported efforts to ensure that youth in the region are connected to a positive activity and trusted adult in a safe place. Each year the Health Foundation offers a variety of resources including capacity building workshops and funding opportunities to OST providers who support programming across the region. The BOOST Network was officially created in 2013 through a collaboration between the Health Foundation and the United Way of El Paso County as part of its Healthy Kids Initiative. The goal for developing the network was to support organizations who provide OST programs in the region, and lead efforts to get more youth engaged in these programs.
Since 1923, the United Way of El Paso County (UWEPC) has worked to improve the lives of El Paso families. In 2008, UWEPC began focusing on four impact areas -- Education, Health, Basic Needs, and Financial Stability. As part of their efforts, the UWEPC partnered with the Health Foundation as the backbone organization to support the Healthy Kids Initiative. As the coordinator and manager of the BOOST Network, UWEPC is leading the way supporting quality OST programs around the Borderplex region and increasing the number of youth participating in OST programs.