ECS Out of School Time Program Director Speaks on National Issue

When regional and national innovators in afterschool programs came together on Thursday, June 19, Christian Holland was there to discuss successes.

As program director of Episcopal Community Services’ Out of School Time in Feltonville, Holland pointed to his staff’s “creativity in motion and action” for kids from what he calls Philly’s most ethnically and culturally diverse area.

“We’re always looking at the gaps to see what we can do better. We take time to ask questions and listen to what the youth and parents are saying. Flexibility, communication and being open to change are what’s important for innovation,” said Holland.

Close to 200 attendees concerned with the safety, health and positive development of children during out of school time came to the morning event. Philadelphia Social Innovations Journal publishers Tine Hansen-Turton and Nick Torres presented the forum at the Public Health Management Corporation.With Hansen-Turton leading the discussion, the first group of panelists included Holland and representatives from the Out of School Time Resource Center, Education Works, Catholic Social Services, Research for Action, and Springboard Collaborative. Other speakers and panelists were from the city’s Department of Human Services, Every Hour Counts, the Afterschool Alliance, Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool and Youth Development Network, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, Urban Affairs Coalition, Health Promotion Council and other organizations.

All agreed that Philadelphia is a leader in the nation, with DHS OST funding more than 8,000 afterschool slots and serving more than 18,000 youth with demonstrated impact.