We speak with Al Kurland, longtime leader of out-of-school-time programs in Upper Manhattan’s Washington Heights. Mr. Kurland founded youth  programs that help teens to “rewrite their stories” with the support of adult and peer mentors. He collaborated with other local youth organizations, creating a cluster of empowering and horizon-broadening experiences for students, helping many expand “tunnel vision.”


00:00-00:39 Intros

00:39-04:50 Washington Heights community and its youth

04:50-09:05 What made programs successful

09:05-12:48 The Dreamers

12:48-15:15 Teens changing from fatalism to purpose

15:15-17:47 Teen-centric programming and its impact on young people

17:47-23:01 Increased isolation of teens in “modern” compared to traditional societies

23:01-27:38 Meaningful rites of passage

27:38-33:06 Storytelling, mentors, co-mentors

33:06-35:03 How schools can enhance adolescents’ sense of efficacy; action civics

35:03-39:35 Suggestions for starting a youth program

39:35- Outro


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Soundtrack by Poddington Bear