Using Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELOs) to Manage Key Transition Periods for At-Risk Youth

Using Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELOs) to Manage Key Transition Periods for At-Risk Youth
Using Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELOs) to Manage Key Transition Periods for At-Risk Youth


The American Youth Policy Forum hosted a discussion group to explore how Expanded Learning Opportunities (ELOs) are being used to manage key transition periods for at-risk youth. As attention has recently been drawn to thinking outside the box regarding how and where students learn, AYPF believes it is important to see how community based organizations are playing key roles to fill voids left behind by traditional public schools. As part of this discussion, we were joined by Hanif Fazal of Open Meadow Step Up, an 8th to 9th grade transition program, and Lisa Zarin, Laura Sakayama, and Laurie Bainter from College Bound St. Louis, a high school to college transition program. Additionally, Lucy Friedman of The After-School Corporation and Erik Peterson of the Afterschool Alliance shared their views on the implications for policy of the day’s session.


For a full summary of the discussion group, please read our report.


Hanif Fazal, Director, Open Meadow – Step Up

Hanif Fazal has been the Step Up Program Director since August 2004 and supervises Program Coordinators at Step Up’s four sites – Roosevelt, Madison, Marshall, and Gresham High Schools. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Portland State University and is working on a Masters Degree in Multicultural Studies. Hanif has 12 years of experience working with youth of all backgrounds and levels of risk. He is also Founder and Principal Consultant of Inside Out Development LLC, a consulting agency contracting with local and out-of-state schools and social service agencies to design and implement programming for high risk youth populations as well as with diversity or cultural competency issues.

Lucy Friedman, Ph.D., President, The After-School Corporation (TASC)

Lucy Friedman is founding president of The After-School Corporation (TASC) which is dedicated to giving all children opportunities to grow through after-school and summer programs that support, educate, and inspire them.Under her leadership, TASC has partnered with New York City schools and community organizations to support more than 330 after-school programs that have served more than 300,000 children in kindergarten through high school. The organization develops and advocates for the expansion of high-quality, daily after-school programs, and works to help build after-school systems in cities across the country.

Before joining TASC, Ms. Friedman was the founding executive director of Safe Horizon (formerly known as Victim Services), a crime victim assistance and advocacy organization. She led a study group for Mayor David N. Dinkins that recommended the creation of Beacon programs in schools. She serves on several boards including the Afterschool Alliance, Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America (LEDA), Human Services Council, Bryn Mawr College and New York State Health Foundation. She is co-chair of NYSAN (New York State Afterschool Network) and a member of the executive committee of the Coalition for Science After School.

Ms. Friedman received a B.A. from Bryn Mawr College and a Ph.D. in social psychology from Columbia University.

Erik Peterson, Policy Director, Afterschool Alliance

Erik joined the Afterschool Alliance in July 2009 as Policy Director. In this position he coordinates and advances the Afterschool Alliance’s policy efforts at the federal level by helping develop policy goals and implementing strategies that advance afterschool programs for all.  Erik works to build and strengthen relationships with policy makers and allied organizations to increase public support and funding for afterschool programs. Prior to coming to the Afterschool Alliance Erik served as Director of Public Awareness in the Government Affairs Center of the School Nutrition Association (SNA) for almost nine years overseeing the spokesperson network, handling media relations, conducting award-winning awareness campaigns, managing the Political Action Committee, and mobilizing members at the grassroots level to help achieve federal and state policy goals.

Prior to working for SNA, he organized community gardens, nutrition classes, and farmers markets in Central Texas as both a VISTA and staff for the Sustainable Food Center. Erik has authored manuals on starting community gardens and school community kitchens, in addition to writing several articles for School Nutrition magazine. He originally hails from Texas and received his Masters in Public Affairs from the LBJ School at the University of Texas, as well as a Bachelor degree from Georgetown University. Erik is married and has two young boys who participate in afterschool programs.

Lisa Orden Zarin, Executive Director, College Bound St. Louis

Lisa Orden Zarin is founder and executive director of College Bound St. Louis. Prior to College Bound, she spent twenty years in advertising, writing, and film.  She founded Reality Productions, a New York-based film and video company, and her credits include an award winning feature-length documentary on the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. As an independent writer and marketing consultant, she has served some of St. Louis’s largest corporations.

Prior to College Bound, Ms. Orden Zarin was a founding board member and development chair for Meds & Food for Kids, (a malnutrition relief organization), a board member, VP and facilitator of Adult Education for Central Reform Congregation, a diversity committee member for New City School, a graduate of Dismantling Racism for Educators Institute, a board member for the National Conference for Community and Justice of St. Louis, and the Co-Leader of Heart-to-Heart, an organization that helps young people cope with the challenges of living with congenital heart defects. Currently, Ms. Orden Zarin serves on the St. Louis Regional P-20 Coordinating Council, the Missouri College Access Pipeline, and is a 2010 guest speaker on“Navigating by Dashboard: Infrastructure for Assessment of College Access Programs” at Missouri’s first statewide college access conference.

Ms. Orden Zarin holds degrees in English and Education from Rutgers University.  She also completed post-graduate coursework at Washington University and The New School in New York and is an amateur portrait photographer.  She and her husband Larry have two children.


Click here for the Open Meadow Step Up presentation

For additional information about Open Meadow Alternative Schools and their variety of programs and services other than Step Up, please visit their website.

Click here for the College Bound St. Louis presentation


The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF), a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional development organization based in Washington, DC, provides learning opportunities for policy leaders, practitioners, and researchers working on youth and education issues at the national, state, and local levels. AYPF events and publications are made possible by contributions from philanthropic foundations. For a complete list, click here.