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MAY
19
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Guest blog: Afterschool set me on the path to success

By Charlotte Steinecke

By Ashley Castillo, an alumna of After-School All-Stars in Orlando, Fla. Ashley shared her story on Capitol Hill on April 21, at a panel of expert speakers sharing their stories and experiences in defense of 21st Century Community Learning Centers funding.

As one of the thousands of students my afterschool program has helped, I would like to share a little bit about myself and tell you how much this program has meant to me and my family.

Like thousands of kids across the nation, growing up during these times has been very hard. For as long as I can remember, my family always struggled to get by. Both of my parents are deaf, and as of recently, my mother has had problems with her vision. It has always been difficult for them to hold steady jobs and provide for me, my brother, and my sister. We had to move constantly and often lived in places that were so bad that no one else should ever have to live there. These struggles caused many fights and issues between my parents and they eventually got a divorce.

I don’t think people realize how these kinds of problems affecting adults can turn around and affect kids. In my case, I became very shy and did not talk a lot in elementary school. I kept a lot of my feelings inside and did not participate in many activities. I did not feel safe in my neighborhood and my parents could never afford to put me in an afterschool or summer program.

MAY
18
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Make each day healthier for all children with Voices for Healthy Kids

By Charlotte Steinecke

As the only online national network of people focusing on helping kids grow up at a healthy weight, the Voices for Healthy Kids Action Center (formerly PreventObesity.com) is the place where leaders and organizations connect with hundreds of thousands of health and wellness supporters in advocacy efforts and policy implementation.

Childhood obesity remains a serious issue confronting kids across the nation, and the out-of-school time programs in which they participate have a lot of opportunities to help improve their health. From the food choices families make and food preparation to food affordability and the physical activity kids experience each day, there’s a lot to do to build a network of people that can make change happen.

Check out the list of active campaigns, explore the advocate toolbox, and sign up to become an Action Center leader or create an organization profile so you'll receive updates on the latest news about helping kids in your community live, play, and learn healthier. 

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learn more about: Health and Wellness Nutrition
MAY
17
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: May 17, 2017

By Luci Manning

After-School Programs at Risk – Will Jerry Brown Help? (Sacramento Bee, California)

Advocates rallied yesterday at the California State Capitol to urge Gov. Jerry Brown to support funding for afterschool programs. The event was organized by the California Afterschool Advocacy Alliance, and speakers included several state senators and assemblymen. Following the rally, advocates delivered more than 8,000 letters to Gov. Brown expressing support for afterschool programs, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Charlie Dent Says He’ll Try to ‘Protect’ After-School Programs Trump Wants to Cut (Allentown Morning Call, Pennsylvania)

U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent recently visited a Communities in Schools afterschool program at Washington Elementary School, expressing his support for 21st Century Community Learning Centers, which President Trump’s most recent budget proposal defunded. “We’re going to try and do what we can to protect a lot of these programs that help children coming from challenging socio-economic circumstances,” Dent told the Allentown Morning Call. More than 700 Allentown School District students could lose access to afterschool programs under the president’s budget proposal. 

Young Entrepreneurs Host Expo to Show Off Their Products (Scottsbluff Star-Herald, Nebraska)

Fifth- and sixth-grade students at Mitchell Elementary School are learning to develop and launch their own businesses through a 14-week afterschool program. EntrepreneurShip Investigation, sponsored by Western Nebraska Community College, teaches students how to sell and market products, culminating in an expo held earlier this month where students showed their work to their classmates. “It’s important for these children, because even though they may never want to be an entrepreneur, it gives them an appreciation for what their future bosses go through,” program head Ellen Ramig told the Scottsbluff Star-Herald.

Students Work Around-the-Clock During 27-Hour Space Mission (Marietta Daily Journal, Georgia)

Six elementary school students blasted into space last week on the Intrepid, a trailer-turned-simulator in the Russell Elementary School parking lot, while their classmates worked in Mission Control to monitor the simulator’s altitude, speed and trajectory. The 27-hour launch simulation was the culmination of a unique afterschool program that teaches elementary schoolers the ins and outs of space exploration. Russell’s space program has been sending its young astronauts up in the Intrepid every year since 1998, according to the Marietta Daily Journal, building their teamwork and problem-solving skills along the way. 

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learn more about: Budget Federal Funding Science
MAY
16
2017

FUNDING
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An insider's guide to funding afterschool: Collaborating with communications

By Maria Leyva

The Afterschool Alliance is pleased to present the latest installment of "An insider's guide to funding afterschool," a blog series by the development team at the Afterschool Alliance, featuring strategies to successfully fund and sustain out-of-school time programs.

As fundraisers, we know that projecting the best information about our organizations is a key way to win new supporters and keep existing ones. The right messaging strategy can bolster support from donors and funders, and establish and increase your organization’s credibility. A close partnership with your organization’s communications team can make that happen.

Here’s a few ways collaboration with communications professionals can bring keep your fundraising strategy sharp or bring it to the next level.

Consistency is key

When writing a grant application, an annual letter of appeal to donors, or an email to a prospective new donor, it’s crucial to produce fundraising messaging that is consistent and aligned with the overall language and messaging of your organization. Delivering clear, consistent, and accurate messaging builds interest and trust in your organization while keeping current donors connected and loyal to your mission.

Because effective fundraising materials aim to inform prospective or current donors about the work of your organization, make an effort to coordinate with your communications, media, or quality control team to review your content. These staff are skilled in message framing, proofing, and polishing, and can review the accuracy of the information you’re presenting. Additionally, they can ensure your fundraising materials use the organization’s color palette, images, and logo. Details like visual branding and effective copy are foundational to conveying the best possible impression of your organization to prospective funders and external audiences.

MAY
15
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Join the #GirlsAre campaign to celebrate girls in sports!

By Charlotte Steinecke

  

There’s a health and wellness crisis facing girls in the United States, and it’s playing out—or not playing out—in physical education classes and field days across the country. Compared to their male peers, girls are far less likely to achieve the recommended amounts of physical activity, and girls drop out of sports at twice the rate of boys by the time they reach age 14.

To combat this worrying trend, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and the Clinton Foundation are teaming up for their second year of the #GirlsAre campaign. You can join the #GirlsAre social media movement to showcase the strength of girls, sign a pledge to celebrate girls’ athleticism, and write an empowering note to your younger, athletic self. 

In a statement of support for the #GirlsAre campain, vice chair of the Clinton Foundation and board member of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation Chelsea Clinton said, “Data shows that across the United States, less than 50 percent of middle school girls get the recommended amount of physical activity each day. Why does this matter? This gap in physical activity results in fewer opportunities for girls to develop critical teamwork, confidence, and leadership skills that will help them thrive throughout their lives – as well as to be physically healthy.”

Bringing together more than 40 media partners, nonprofit organizations, and influential voices, the #GirlsAre campaign will run from May 15 to June 4, coinciding with National Physical Fitness and Sports Month in May. Join the movement on Facebook and Twitter!

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learn more about: Health and Wellness
MAY
12
2017

POLICY
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New career education bill includes opportunities for afterschool

By Jillian Luchner

Update, May 17: (H.R. 2352) unanimously passed out of the House Education and the Workforce Committee on May 17, 2017.

Original post, May 12:

On May 4, Reps. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-Pa.) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) introduced the Strengthening Career and Technical Education (CTE) for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 2353) to provide more opportunities for coordination and collaboration across sectors that support student career pathways.

The proposed bill emphasizes the importance of employability skills and makes career exploration an allowable use of CTE funding as early as the middle grades (5th grade and beyond). Community-based providers, such as afterschool programs, are explicitly mentioned as eligible entities, which should smooth the way for afterschool programs to be considered school district partners. Additionally, intermediaries that support districts are required to have experience coordinating partnerships with community-based providers, making afterschool programs a great fit for the role.

The legislation would reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006, which is overdue for an update. It mainly replicates last year’s H.R. 5587, which passed with a vote of 405-5 in the 114th Congress, and will authorize the CTE program with $1.133 billion in funds for FY18, growing to $1.213 billion in 2023. To see how this year’s bill has changed from last year’s proposed legislation, see this Education Week article.

A bill summary on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce webpage reviews some of the important updates in the proposed legislation, including:

  • Providing more flexibility on how to use the federal funds
  • Emphasizing coordination across federal- and state-led programs
  • Enhancing partnerships and public input between community and business representatives

The timing is right for a new CTE law. The federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act, takes effect this fall and includes updated language around workforce development in the 21st Century Community Learning Centers initiative, along with encouragement to work across federal programs. Passage of an updated CTE bill that gives afterschool providers a more explicit role in planning and providing programming would be another crucial step towards providing students with more seamless in- and out-of-school experiences that propel their future plans and career paths.

For now, make your voice heard! Afterschool professionals can continue to inform local, state, and federal lawmakers of the great work they are doing to prepare youth for careers—see one great example here. Programs can also begin or build upon conversations with CTE State Directors, local school boards, superintendents, and principals to strengthen connections with the education system. 

MAY
11
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Apply to be a National Afterschool Matters Fellow

By Leah Silverberg

If you’re a committed mid-career out-of-school time professional who’s looking for your next professional development opportunity, the National Afterschool Matters (NASM) Fellowship could be right for you.

The NASM Fellowship is a two-year professional and leadership development training program. Through a partnership with the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) at the Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College, The National Writing Project, and funding from the Robert Bowne Foundation, the Fellowship offers a space where you can learn to “reflect on, study, improve, and assess your work” to generate an even greater impact.

Fellows will participate in hands-on inquiry-based research, learning, and writing under the guidance of experienced mentors; receive leadership development training; participate in a study of community of out-of-school-time professionals; and participate in two retreats at Wellesley College, let by NIOST and NWP. Participants receive a participation stipend for the two-year fellowship and travel stipends to attend the retreats.

Fellowship requirements

Applicants are required to:

  • Have access to reliable high-speed internet, technology equipment, and a Google email account
  • Attend a retreat from September 24 to 26, 2017 in Wellesley, Mass., and another in the fall of 2018 (dates TBD)
  • Participate in monthly virtual meetings
  • Produce a final project that may include a manuscript for journal publication, conference presentation, blog, recorded webinar, etc.
  • Have a bachelor’s degree or higher

How to apply

Submit a complete application by May 31, 2017, including the online application, the online reference form, and a resume emailed to asm_nationalfellowship@wellesley.edu with your name in the subject line and in the file name.

MAY
10
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: May 10, 2017

By Luci Manning

Teenage Girls Who Code Get Encouragement from U.S. Bank (Marketplace)

U.S. Bank offered its support to six teams of girls participating in a coding challenge called Technovation, encouraging them to develop apps that would help people manage their finances. The teams, several of which were made up of Latin American and Somali immigrants, would meet after school in Minneapolis to work on their apps and prepare to pitch them at the competition, according to Marketplace. One of the apps, Piggy Saver, would help youths stick to financial goals and manage their money.

Students Learn that Science Is Everywhere (Clark Fork Valley Press & Mineral Independent, Montana)

Students in nine Montana afterschool programs have had the chance to collaborate with NASA scientists on special research projects over the past few months. Youths worked on creating drag devices that prepare a spacecraft to land on Mars, and helped build pressure suits for astronauts. “It’s great because they are finding that science is everywhere, not just in a science class,” Alberton/Superior 21st Century Community Learning Center program coordinator Jessica Mauer told the Clark Fork Valley Press & Mineral Independent.

Hmong Moms Learn English While Kids Are Tutored (Wausau Daily Herald, Wisconsin)

A new program at Horace Mann Middle School gives immigrant moms a chance to learn English without worrying about finding child care. The program, offered through a partnership between the Wausau School District and Northcentral Technical College, offers English as a second language lessons to parents in one room, and the Growing Great Minds afterschool program to students in another. Horace Mann Middle School enrichment coordinator Zoe Morning told the Wausau Daily Herald that this arrangement reinforces the value of education for children and gives financially disadvantaged immigrant families a chance to improve critical language skills.

Frisco Students Start Club to Create Unity in Divided Times (WFAA, Texas)

Two high school juniors are attempting to mitigate the divisive political atmosphere with an afterschool conversation club called The Bridge. The group stays after school once a week to discuss different social issues – from public education to race – in a friendly, respectful, open-minded environment. Founders Aaron Raye and Daniel Szczechowksi emphasize that they don’t want everyone to agree after the conversations, but they do want to give participants a chance to hear from those with different perspectives. Adults in the community are taking note – in fact, parents started a similar group just last week. “It gives you hope that people can talk to each other in a different way and find that respect,” Raye’s father Mike told WFAA

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learn more about: Science Youth Development Literacy