On March 26 (3/26) more than 3 million parents, young people and supporters of afterschool were reached through an online campaign that raised awareness about the value of afterschool programs and called for Congressional support of the Afterschool for America’s Children Act: S. 326 and HR 4086.
Every afternoon between the hours of 3 and 6 p.m. children nationwide should have the opportunity to participate in engaging afterschool programs that support their learning and development and spark their passions and creativity. In recognition of the afterschool hours of opportunity from 3 to 6 p.m., on 3/26 friends of afterschool programs took to their social media networks to promote afterschool and build support for the Afterschool for America’s Children Act.
The bipartisan Afterschool for America’s Children Act, S. 326 and HR 4086—led by Sens. Boxer, Murkowski and Murray in the Senate and by Reps. Kildee and DeLauro in the House—would reauthorize and strengthen the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative—the nation’s chief federal funding stream for afterschool and summer learning programs—by supporting innovative advances that support student success.
Science Learning+ will provide up to $14.4 million to support research into how learning happens outside the classroom, exploring the most effective practices and building the evidence base in this area. The aims are: (1) to learn more about, evaluate and maximize the impact of informal learning experiences; and (2) to improve understanding of how informal environments may help to widen access to STEM for youth from all backgrounds.
One-year-long Planning Grants (proposals due on July 10, 2014) will enable initial collaboration and idea development. Partnership Grants (due in 2015), will fund research activities for up to five years.
Science Learning+ funding is particularly aimed at encouraging collaborative projects between researchers and practitioners in the U.S. and U.K., developing stronger links and partnerships internationally, and building a learning community for exchanging experience and expertise.
The program’s objectives are:
Strengthen the research and knowledge base
- Research the value and impacts of informal STEM experiences, especially upon young people from birth to 19 years old;
- Develop a theoretical understanding of the processes that lead to these impacts;
- Develop better methodologies to measure the impacts of informal STEM experiences, especially upon learning and mediation of learning;
- Build research capacity in informal STEM learning.
My Books Summer, in partnership with the Scholastic Summer Challenge would like to motivate afterschool and summer learning programs to promote reading during the summer in their communities. As a reward for sharing their plans to inspire summer reading, My Books Summer will choose the top three Summer Reading Projects and donate summer reading book packs to the organization of the winners’ choice.
On April 28, Scholastic will chose the top three summer reading project ideas based on innovation, community connectivity and overall engagement and provide free book packs.
Jenna-Lyn Ryckebusch, Massachusetts, currently serves as the Senior Programs Coordinator at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Ms. Ryckebusch has her master’s degree in Forensic Psychology and received a Bachelor of Science from Ursinus College in Psychology and Spanish. She is a proud mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters and a member of the FBI Citizen’s Academy.
I recently exhibited at the National AfterSchool Association Annual Convention and was excited to meet many of you and hear about the needs of your afterschool organizations. I spoke to several attendees seeking innovative educational tools that can easily be implemented into youth programs. At the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), we understand how important it is to have access to free resources that help educate children and keep them safe.
What NCMEC can offer you
Keeping children safe is an important role and one with which you are very familiar. As a caretaker for children of all ages, you are the perfect representatives to bring safety resources to your community. This is why you should join NCMEC in a grassroots campaign, Take 25.
By Luci Manning
Kindergarteners Take Concerns Over Gunshots in Neighborhood to Mayor (Star Press, Indiana)
After Kindergartener and activist Terry Miles wrote a letter to Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler about recent shootings in his neighborhood, Terry and the rest of his classmates at the MuncieP3 afterschool program then took a trip to the mayor’s office to discuss ways to prevent gun violence in their community. Terry’s letter read: “Dear Mayor, I want to ask an important question. People have been shooting at night and I want to ask you ‘Can you make them stop?’ I want to meet this man who told the other people to shoot guns because it is inappropriate to shoot guns.” Brittany Cain, an instructor for the MuncieP3 program, told the Star Press that regardless of their age, these students can make a real difference.
Some Teens Are Blown Away By the Rush of Competitive Sailing (Buffalo News, New York)
On Monday, 50 students took to the water to launch another season of a competitive afterschool sailing program at the Buffalo Yacht Club. The students practice various complicated and scientific techniques during the week, and then on Fridays, they get a chance to put their skills to the test in a race. While many participants have been sailing for years, anyone interested is encouraged to join the program. Alyssa Vianese, a senior at Fredonia High School, told the Buffalo News that they “just go for it,” adding that “sailing is a sport for anyone and everyone, and it’s a lifetime sport.”
James Hmurovich: Reach Out to Others to Help End Child Abuse (State Journal-Register, Illinois)
To commemorate Child Abuse Prevention Month, President and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America James Hmurovich issued a call to action to all Americans and specifically Illinoisans, to improve the lives of children and families. In an article for the State Journal-Register, Hmurovich writes that everyone has a part to play.
“We all have a role to play in healthy child development and the prevention of child abuse. Coaches, teachers, babysitters and health care professionals work with children every day and already are working to move the country toward being a greater place for children. But even if you don't work with or around children, you still can have a positive effect on their lives. If you have time in the afternoon, you could volunteer at after-school programs or help coach sports teams to ensure parents have a safe place for kids to go when they get out of school and before parents typically get home from work…. By taking the time to volunteer for before- or after-school programs, offering to help families in your own neighborhood, or working to ensure that programs proven to prevent child abuse continue to be funded, you can have a meaningful effect on the lives of children throughout the community. Actions like these help bring together communities, reduce isolation and help children and families succeed by providing them with tools and resources for optimal development. If we all pledge to do each of these activities at least once during the month of April, we can make a real difference.”
By Jodi Grant
Last month, the afterschool field lost of one its greatest supporters. Claire Mott White’s extraordinary dedication to youth programs touched people all across this country, including just about every one of us in the afterschool field.
Claire Mott White had served as a trustee of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation since 1996, helping guide the foundation’s tremendous investments in expanding quality afterschool programs for children and youth nationwide. As part of that work, she championed the arts and arts education, chairing the Art School Committee of the Flint Institute of Arts in Michigan, serving as a trustee of the Flint Cultural Center Corporation, and receiving the 2007 Guvvy Award—the Michigan Governor's Award for lifetime achievement in supporting the arts and culture—along with her husband, Mott Foundation President & CEO Bill White.
In Flint, the classroom wing of the Flint Institute of Arts is named in her honor. The Flint Youth Theatre is housed at the William S. White and Claire M. White Center, named to recognize her work providing programming for thousands of area children and young people.
On the heels of the president’s FY2015 budget request submitted to Congress last month, the House and Senate appropriations subcommittees have begun the process of setting spending levels for FY2015. While the House has their own proposed budget blueprint to work from, the Senate is using the budget agreement worked out in December as a guideline for FY2015 spending decisions.
Despite the differences, House and Senate appropriations committees have begun holding hearings on the FY2014 spending bills and will hear testimony from Education Sec. Arne Duncan this month.
With regard to funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) initiative, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) led efforts to organize ‘Dear Colleague Letters’ asking appropriators to support funding for 21st CCLC. According to the Harvard Family Research Project, the 21st CCLC initiative has been a major factor in helping to close the socioeconomic gap in afterschool participation. While afterschool participation rates have increased at every level of family income nationwide, lowest income youth have shown the greatest increase in participation due in large part to the access provided to quality programs through 21st CCLC.
By Luci Manning
Star-Telegram columnist Bob Ray Sanders makes a compelling case for why Fort Worth’s crime prevention tax needs to be renewed, citing the positive learning experiences at the Fort Worth After School (FWAS) program. Miguel Garcia, an Afterschool Ambassador and program director of FWAS, told the Star-Telegram how the afterschool programs “provide a safe, positive learning experience for students at the end of the school day when many of them otherwise would be at home, or somewhere else, without adult supervision.” Sanders calls the $1.1 million the FWAS program receives in Crime Control and Prevention District funding, “a small amount of money for all the benefit that comes from this exceptional program.”
Roxbury coach Tony Richards was there many years ago when Shabazz Napier, point guard for the University of Connecticut, learned to play the sport he loved at the Roxbury YMCA. Richards started coaching kids in Boston neighborhoods in his “No Books, No Ball” program to keep his son and nephew off the streets. Richards told the Boston Globe, “You see these single mothers, you see these kids that need mentoring… that’s the energy that keeps me coming back.” Napier will play in this year’s Final Four on Saturday.
On any given Monday night, dozens of students are engaged in some friendly competition at Jacksonville High School’s chess club. The newly formed club was intended not only for the students to improve their chess skills for the sake of winning the game, but to employ those skills in all areas of life. Club co-founder Larry Richmond told the Jacksonville Daily Progress that to excel in chess, the students need to utilize logical thinking and a strong work ethic, qualities he believes are “the greatest value to academics.”
Donors at Hicksville blood drives were treated to snacks and juice from a special group of “little doctors.” Students from seven Hicksville Elementary schools, who volunteer through the Little Doctors afterschool program, not only served refreshments but also assisted potential donors before clinicians took over the process. “Little Doctors is an opportunity for students to learn the value of volunteerism and the importance of participating in community service,” Fork Lane School Principal Christopher Scardino told the Hicksville Illustrated News.