In Their Own Words for PASA’s 10th Anniversary: AfterZone Alum Joely Barrios Talks Positive Adult Relationships

by Michael Braithwaite, Director of Communications

posted 7.9.2014

This year, PASA is lucky to be looking back at 10 amazing years working with 10,000 young people. As we take this opportunity to reflect before looking ahead to the next 10 years, we thought we’d sit down with some of our youth alumni and community partners about their thoughts on the AfterZone, Hub, and citywide afterschool in general. 

Adults talk a lot about academic outcomes, and college and workforce preparedness. We look for ways to make sure after-school and expanded learning programs are connected to in-school content and competencies. We try to find ways to link student interests with career and college options. Interestingly, what we’ve been hearing from all of the alumni we touched base with is that it was the positive adult relationships and the ability to choose what they did with their after school hours that made a huge difference to them. 

It’s a good reminder to not lose sight of how critical caring adults and youth choice are to the longterm success of our young people. 

Joely Barrios


Left Photo: 6th grade Joely (bottom right) meeting John McEnroe with her AfterZone tennis program

Right photo: Joely as a senior in high school reading her piece “Sidewalk Women” at the 2013 Providence Youth Poetry Slam


Joely started the AfterZone at Gilbert Stuart Middle School in 6th grade. Like many of our young people, she was drawn to the diversity of after school options she could pick from and was immediately drawn to tennis—one of her father’s passions. Throughout her middle school career, Joely took tennis, Nonviolent verses (a song writing program), theater, video production, yoga, golf, martial arts, and more. 

Developing a passion for poetry, Joely began performing regularly in the Providence Youth Poetry Slam at AS220, eventually competing nationally. She graduated high school this spring with a full scholarship to attend Brandeis University

When we caught up with her for this video, she credited the AfterZone’s emphasis on adults respecting and listening to youth, as well as its ability to expose middle school youth to a vast array of activities and organizations, with her desire to connect with others and explore her options. 

We couldn’t be prouder of her and can’t wait to see the amazing things she does as a young adult. 



For more in our 10th Anniversary series…

Alum Raymond Fernandez

CityArts for Youth Executive Director Barbara Wong

Officer Sean Brown

Alum Kweyono Kyne