This capstone studies the after-school program administered by AmeriCorps at the Brattleboro Housing Authority (BHA) in order to foster greater participation, develop lucid and concrete program goals, determine measurements for success, and to deepen partnerships between key stakeholders. Due to conflicts between constituents, Appreciative Inquiry was used to frame the interview protocol and findings in a positive and constructive manner. Interviews were conducted with BHA youth, caregivers and employees, and were supplemented by the researcher’s observations.

The resulting data was combined with research concerning low-income, rural youth, and organizational culture to conclude that greater participation is not a stakeholder-identified goal of the program, but rather happy and satisfied youth are the main determinant in programmatic success. To further assist in the development of contented participants, the BHA must further support the AmeriCorps member and develop responsive communication patterns with residents, as well as establish a model based upon identified best practices.


Organizational Behavior and Theory