HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network (PSAYDN) today announced Contrell Armor as its new director. In this position, Armor will work to promote high-quality afterschool and summer youth development programs through advocacy, capacity building and support for quality initiatives.
Armor has more than 28 years of experience managing and developing school and community-based afterschool programming in the Commonwealth. Prior to joining PSAYDN, he was a youth development coordinator for the Nita M. Lowery 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) initiative at Center for Schools and Communities (CSC). Before joining CSC, Armor served as an Elect Student Work (ESW) grant manager and 21st CCLC coordinator in the Harrisburg School District. Armor brings diverse skills and background to PSAYDN, with significant experience in understanding challenges facing Pennsylvania’s afterschool infrastructure, managing programs and community activities with diverse populations, coordinating professional learning for out-of-school time (OST) providers, and working directly with students and families. He is also a 2022 graduate of the Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC) Fellowship. Armor replaces Steven Williams, who now serves as a director of policy and legislative affairs for Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor Austin Davis.
“A 2021 study released by the Joint State Government Commission identifies significant benefits to students who participate in out-of-school-time (OST) programs and a substantial return on investment (ROI) made in these programs, concluding that, for every dollar invested in an afterschool program in the Commonwealth, $6.69 is returned in potential benefits associated with reducing high school dropouts, teen pregnancy, substance abuse disorder, crime, and delinquency. According to the Afterschool Alliance’s America After 3 PM study, approximately 322,000 students in the Commonwealth participate in OST programs and an additional 775,000 would participate, according to their parents, if a program were available to them — which signals a large, unmet need,” Armor said.
During his time as a site coordinator, Armor supported the afterschool field by working closely with school administration and counselors to provide services for students. He partnered with community stakeholders to sustain programming services and supported families by attending meetings with them, participating in classroom observations, and conducting home visits. Armor completed PSAYDN’s Afterschool Ambassador’s program in 2017 and has participated in national Afterschool for All advocacy events on Capitol Hill. Armor also has over seven years of volunteer experience with Community Relations Services of the United States Department of Justice as a facilitator tasked to help resolve and prevent racial and ethical conflict, violence and civil disorder in schools.
Laura Saccente, director of strategic initiatives for the PSAYDN initiative, highlighted that “Armor’s extensive experience in afterschool programming in understanding the system and policies of the field makes him the perfect fit for continuing the call to expand program availability for underserved children and youth. His expertise and leadership will be imperative as PSAYDN evolves and grows to reach all corners of the state to provide needed support to invest in students, families and local communities.”
Armor is currently pursuing a master’s degree in organizational development and leadership with a concentration in public organizations from Shippensburg University and holds a bachelor’s degree in organizational behavior and applied psychology from Albright College.
Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network (PSAYDN) believes all children and youth deserve access to expanded learning programs that encourage positive development and support the successful transition to adulthood. The network promotes sustainable, high-quality out-of-school time youth development programs through advocacy and capacity building to enhance the welfare of Pennsylvania’s children, youth and families. PSAYDN is one of 50 statewide afterschool networks funded by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. Since its inception in 2004 as a 65-member network, PSAYDN has grown to serve more than 3,000 members and has played a unique role in bridging the capacity needs and programming perspectives that exist within the out-of-school time sector. PSAYDN is managed by the Center for Schools and Communities, a division of Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit. For more information, please visit www.psaydn.org.