All-Stars Strategy Week 2023

Recently, executive leadership, program staff, and board members from across the organization gathered in Chicago for our annual Strategy Week. In total, nearly 75 representatives from chapters and the national team met to share their successes and challenges, working together to chart the best path forward on behalf of All-Star students, staff, families, and communities.

Conference attendees celebrated the organization’s recent growth and continued commitment to innovation. Likewise, they discussed the importance of acknowledging the social, economic, and political environments that push us to continue to adapt and evolve. In the words of All-Stars CEO Ben Paul, “We might not be able to solve all of these issues, but we can do something about them. We aren’t victims of these circumstances—we are part of the solution.” Specific topics addressed throughout the week included student and staff mental wellness, staff recruitment and retention strategies, employee and student safety, and the critical importance of high-quality expanded learning programs.

Andrea Bazán, president of After-School All-Stars, touched on this need: “This year, we learned that eighth graders’ scores in civics and U.S. history have declined between 2018 and 2022. In October 2022, it was the same news for mathematics and reading. Academics is just one piece of the All-Stars comprehensive model, but it’s clear that we must work together to develop innovative, effective strategies to support young people and help them be the best versions of themselves. That is what we challenged ourselves to accomplish during Strategy Week.”

Special guests and field experts were invited to lead discussions on strategies that would inspire growth and innovation at both chapter and national levels. Attendees engaged in conversations about topics like nonprofit capacity building, thought partnership, executive coaching, strategy formulation, community engagement, corporate partnership, and organizational performance. The goal of every session was to collaborate and identify concrete ways we can continue to enhance our programs, reach more students, and support our staff.

At the end of the week, three awards were given to recognize chapters that went above and beyond over the past year, and really embodied some of our organization’s values—big congratulations to: ASAS South Florida for receiving the Collaboration Award, ASAS North Texas for receiving the Innovation Award, and ASAS Cleveland for receiving the Reach & Impact Award.

All-Stars CEO Ben Paul summed up the overall goal of bringing everyone together: “My dream and hope is that when we all go back to our respective homes and chapters, we remember that we’re part of a national organization. We’re connected, and we’re stronger together. Everything we’ve learned here this week, the relationships we’ve strengthened—it’s an ongoing journey. This is just the beginning.” 

The week was made possible by ASAS’ longtime partner New York Life and elevated through in-kind donations from Garrett’s Popcorn, Mondelez, Whisps, and the White Sox. We send our sincerest gratitude to these supporters.