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Meet Mizzen Education and Join the Journey

Citlali Aguilera-Rico’s life was forever changed in seventh grade. Through her afterschool program, she took part in a regional science fair. Her team presented a project on electricity and making a magnetic field. The experiment failed, but her team ended up winning. She realized that success sometimes springs from failure, and science isn’t always linear. As she shared last spring in a co-keynote on youth voice in out-of-school time spaces, afterschool was key to her learning and leadership. In college, she majored in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and minored in Global Health, then went on to start a career at Boston Children’s Hospital.

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“Afterschool was an amazing experience for me. It not only solidified my passion for STEM, but helped me grow as a leader. Out-of-school time programs that create a sense of belonging, invite you to put what you’ve learned into practice, and are culturally and educationally relevant, make a dramatic difference to students.” — Citlali Aguilera-Rico, Clinical Research Assistant

Every day, in communities across the country, young people like Citlali participate in a life-changing out-of-school-time program. But all too often, the practitioners who lead these programs have to spend precious time searching for high-quality educational content—or rejiggering lessons built for somebody else or some other setting.

That’s why we created Mizzen Education.

The creativity of We

“Listening to and learning from out-of-school time educators is exactly what inspired Mizzen. It was created with the out-of-school time community, where organizations and individual educators are finding new and creative ways to empower young people every day.” — Carlos Santini, CEO, Mizzen Education

Mizzen Education is an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit that’s designed to partner with the field to develop and pioneer learning solutions that meet the changing needs of out-of-school time practitioners and youth. In collaboration with practitioners in every part of the country, we convene experiences that spotlight out-of-school time ingenuity; amplify youth leadership; and capture the power of problem-solving, in community. 

Bridging gaps and building community are in our DNA. Together, we’ve grown the Mizzen platform to serve more than 18,000 practitioners and offer more than 1,700 pieces of high-quality, vetted lesson plans and learning resources, at no cost, to educators in every state.

Our Story

Led by Carlos Santini, CEO, alongside a dynamic team of youth development professionals, Mizzen Education has deep roots in community-based education and a passionate belief in the benefits of out-of-school time learning. We center our work on human connection, equity, and creativity (even when it’s messy!), knowing that when it comes to success, community is our secret sauce.

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Mizzen Education builds on the momentum of Mizzen by Mott. Originally conceived and incubated by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the free Mizzen by Mott app was launched in spring 2020, and rolled out to the field in collaboration with afterschool networks in all 50 states. To help out-of-school time programs meet children’s and families’ needs during the pandemic, Mizzen was adapted to include activities that providers could offer in-person, virtually, in small-group settings, and at home. 

From its inception, Mizzen Education was designed to help ensure that young people in every ZIP code would have access to high-quality learning experiences on a daily basis. Thanks to support from the Mott Foundation and other funders, Mizzen Education continues to be able to provide learning resources to the out-of-school time field at no cost. 

“Mizzen is unique in that it’s a one-stop shop for our field. There are amazing educational resources out there, to be sure, but this is the first one that’s entirely geared toward us.” — Aiko Sato, an out-of-school time leader who was part of a cohort of practitioners that pioneered Mizzen

With the launch of Mizzen Education as an independent nonprofit in October 2023, our mission remains unwavering and our learning platform hasn’t changed, but we’re on the move in all other ways to bring you more:

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From Active Kids (formerly, BOKS), The Nature Conservancy, ArtsConnection, PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs, the Pulitzer Center, NASA, Jazz at Lincoln Center, PowerUp Fitness, VentureLab—and so many more!


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More places, spaces, and ways to gather as a vibrant community of champions for youth that creates, innovates, celebrates, and supports one another.


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More pop-up events and community conversations, live streams, design sprints, concerts, conferences—and bring-your-whole-self experiences that pass the mic, give practitioners and youth the stage, spark curiosity, and cultivate joy.


“Mizzen has been a game-changer for the field. You should join the Mizzen community because it is a platform that offers free out-of-school time content that has been vetted by practitioners across the nation.” — Liliana G. Murphy, Executive Director, Florida Afterschool Network


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