The Harvard Family Research Project is a wonderful resource for research and evaluations on special topics in Youth Development. Their Out-of-School Time (OST) Program and Evaluation database profiles best practice programs and recently added several promising OST programs in Rural Areas.
In their recent Research update, they profiled several evidence-based and research-based rural afterschool programs, including 2 4-H Afterschool Programs and 3 programs designed for Latino Youth.
Despite well-documented challenges to creating OST programs in rural areas (funding, transportation, staff recruitment & retention), youth in these programs demonstrated statistically signficiant gains in academic achievement, school functioning, positive relationships, and physical health and activity. Program participation also increased family involvement and engagement.
Common elements across successful programs included a safe and welcoming environment, flexible operating hours that coordinated with parent work times, and on-going professional development for teachers and staff.
The full Research Update report is attached. You can also access the data base and view program profiles with links to the original research and evaluation outcomes at the Harvard Family Research Project website.