Meet After-School All-Stars North Texas—an organization that provides after-school programs that keep children safe and help them succeed in and out of school. ASAS aims to empower “the forgotten ages” of middle schoolers by fostering a strong sense of community, belonging, and agency that proves crucial to their success in high school, college, and beyond.
After just a few months as the Interim Executive Director, Justin Hensley finds himself navigating the organization through great uncertainty, but he says, “No matter what happens in the future, I will always feel honored to lead this team during the most tumultuous time we have experienced.”
Like many nonprofits since COVID-19, ASAS is facing challenges with funding and programming. All of their after school programming is now delivered in a completely virtual format. On the funding side, ASAS took a hit as their annual luncheon that impacts staff funding was canceled.
After-School All-Stars applied to the Together for Tomorrow cohort with hopes of improving the biggest issue with moving programming online—the inevitable distance between students, ASAS staff, and each other. “Community is a large part of students’ positive growth, and isolation can be hindering at such a pivotal time,” says Justin.
Through the TFT cohort so far, Justin and his team have begun engaging a team of student designers to create new ways to foster agency and belonging in All-Stars without in person, face to face opportunities.
Justin also shared that through the program he has gained new facilitation tools and skills to use with this team as they continue to innovate in an ever-changing landscape.
In the future, After-School All-Stars hopes to “scale responsibly.” This ultimately means growing solid systems for staff training and support, finding champions within the schools and districts that view ASAS as partners, and securing consistent funding for the program.
To learn more about the great work of After-School All-Stars North Texas, check out their website, asasnorthtexas.org.