At the Listening to Our Teens summit in June 2009, 85 service providers and community representatives came together to learn about and discuss the results of the Listening Project, which interviewed 85 teens and 40 family members about their experiences, wants and needs inside and outside of school.

Click here to read the executive summary of the LTOT report.

Interviews revealed that more than 500 young teens in Asheville are without consistent after school and summer programming at some time during the year. The problem cuts across socioeconomic groups and ethnicities in our community.

Out of this discussion, a community collaboration formed, known as the Listening to Our Teens Network, which will work towards meeting the out of school needs of all of Asheville’s young teens.

Listening to Our Teens Network (LTOTN)

Vision: The Listening to Our Teens Network delivers a coordinated menu of highly experiential and relevant after school and summer programs designed and evaluated with student/young teen input. These programs are made possible by a collaboration of individuals, community organizations, businesses, and government pooling their resources so all middle school youth are empowered by opportunities to find their voice and realize their potential.

The hallmarks of every LTOT Network Program are:

  • Fun
  • Creativity
  • Enrichment
  • Service
  • Access

Mission:To provide engaging and meaningful after school programs for all Asheville middle school students that help our young teens become successful, contributing members of our community. We do this by:

  •  Offering adequate space, opportunity and accessibility for all students
  •  Increasing exposure to applied academics in out of school hours
  •  Increasing student exposure to careers and job skills in out of school hours
  •  Increasing student engagement in school and increasing pro-social decision making

Guiding Principles:

  • We value the gifts our young teens bring to our community so we provide opportunities for teens to lead through service, performance, and participation in the all the facets that make Asheville a unique and exciting place to live.
  • We value a systems approach so we coordinate and collaborate citywide to design, implement, evaluate and improve services for out of school time programming for young teens.
  • We value collaborative action learning so we routinely
    • Realign or redesign programs or the Network as appropriate
    • Reflect on programs and outcomes in light of the data
    • Gather stories of success, relevant data from all stakeholders, and best practices in the field
    • Measure outcomes and track data on programs as well as on the Network collaboration
  • We value student voice so programs and services are student-centered and student informed. 

LTOTN Adopts PASA Model: The Listening to Our Teens Network will adopt a program model based out of Providence, RI called the Providence After School Alliance, or PASA.  In Real Life is a network of after-school programs designed to provide safe, high quality and fun learning opportunities to all ACS middle school students.  Programs take place at various sites in Asheville.