On Friday, March 22, 2013 more than 75 youth serving agency leaders and funders gathered at the Helen Bader Foundation to discuss the results of a survey designed to uncover challenges facing the youth development sector in Milwaukee. 98% of youth serving agencies and 62% of funders supported the establishment of a “city-wide intermediary” to coordinate capacity building among youth service providers, policy makers, and funders. This sentiment was validated when a majority of those in attendance signed up to join one of five working groups to address issues in the areas of access, quality, data, policy, and funding. This marked the launch of Milwaukee-Out-of-School Time initiative, later to become known as Beyond the Bell Milwaukee.
Staffed by the Center for Youth Engagement, Beyond the Bell is a collaborative effort driven by service providers, funders, youth, policy makers and public institutions all committed to ensuring that youth have access to coordinated and quality programs and services. This initiative is currently focused on programs and services for youth ages 12-18. This is a critical age group that is significantly under-served in Milwaukee and cities across the country.
Since 2013, parters have put forth a significant amount of work to explore national best practices, gather input from youth locally, and discuss the unique needs and opportunities for improving coordination of youth programs and services in Milwaukee.
Beyond the Bell engages partners in working groups that develop sector-driven strategies to increase the coordination and quality of programs and services for youth.