Children lag behind when spaces to grow and learn do not prepare them for future education and employment. Supplemental activities, such as out-of-school programming, provide critical learning skills and adult mentoring opportunities for youth. In addition to improving educational performance, high-quality youth programs can have a range of positive impacts, including reducing juvenile delinquency. Community-based youth development agencies are an essential partner of schools to ensure children are ready for college, work, and life. 

Nonprofit youth investment in 2017 is much lower than the national average in most of the seven parishes served by United Way of Southeast Louisiana. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, communities spent an average of $90 per capita in 2017, nationwide. Washington Parish spent $35 per capita, Tangipahoa Parish spent $22, and St. Tammany Parish spent $11. Jefferson, St. Bernard, and Plaquemines parishes all spent less than $10 per capita, at $8, $7, and $1 respectively. Only Orleans Parish exceeded the national spending average, at $135 per capita.