By Luci Manning
Teen, Mentor Are ‘Prefect Match’ (The Free Lance-Star, Virginia)
13-year-old Aaron Johnson already has the experiences of a world traveler, even though he rarely leaves his hometown. Thanks to his “big brother” Gerald Fennemore and the Rappahannock Big Brother Big Sisters program, Johnson has met people from every continent except Antarctica. However, Johnson is gaining much more than cultural experience. “If you have a big brother, the family is like a second family, and a second home, so you’ll have two homes, and they can support you and help you with anything you have issues with,” Johnson told The Free Lance-Star. Fennemore has not only been teaching and mentoring Aaron, but the duo also love watching football and playing games together. “If you could find at least one other caring adult to make a difference in a kid’s life, that’s all it takes. Another adult might be able to find a spark to nurture something in your child that maybe you don’t see,” Johnson’s mother told The Free Lance-Star.
Computer Science First Opens New World, Opportunities to Students (The Post and Courier, South Carolina)
High School Freshman Monica Washington had no idea what she was in for when she enrolled in the Google After-School Program. Through the afterschool and summer computer science program, Washington has learned how to use Scratch, a fashion design program, and has taken classes on cyber security, yo code and an introduction to computer networking. After discovering a passion for cyber security during the summer, Washington tells The Post and Courier, “I am so thankful that I have the chance to get involved in learning about technology. It’s exciting… It is my hope that many more girls will take advantage of these awesome programs.”
Our Bridge Program Offers Classroom Aid to Immigrant Children (The Charlotte Observer, North Carolina)
Thanks to a 21st Century Community Learning Center grant, Our Bridge, a nonprofit afterschool program in South Charlotte, was able to re-open to provide immigrant and refugee children with a safe and welcoming place to learn English. Our Bridge provides meals and transportation for the kids and celebrates their cultural holidays to make them feel at home, while still learning a whole new language in an unfamiliar country. Program Director Andrew Eastwood told The Charlotte Observer about a recent project on frog hibernation in which students made edible tadpole-winter hibernation exhibits of whipped cream, blue jello, chocolate pudding and gummy worms. “The kids loved learning about it and eating it,” Eastwood added.
By Luci Manning
Wake Forest Parents Cheer Transportation to Boys & Girls Club (News & Observer, North Carolina)
Parents in Wake Forest burst into applause at a recent meeting when they learned that their children would continue to have bus service to their afterschool program. For years the option for children to be dropped off at the Wake County Boys & Girls Club had become routine, but this year, due to a drop in 100 bus routes and 4,000 stops to speed up service, the stop had been eliminated. “Families had to wait for several weeks beyond the first day of school to find out whether they would have service, leaving parents anxious about their children’s after-school plans,” the News & Observer reports. Families had to apply for stop reassignment and the routes are now being altered on a first-come, first-serve basis, with no guarantees. Leaders at the Wake County Boys & Girls Club are looking into long-term solutions to ensure families have transportation.
Students Restore Atrium in Memory of Librarian (Idaho Press-Tribune, Idaho)
Afterschool students in the West Middle School Leo Club, an offshoot of the Nampa Lions Club, cleaned up the atrium in the middle of the cafeteria and dedicated it to the memory of a librarian and mentor to the students who died in 2010. The students raised funds with candy and bake sales, car washes, and dances. Sebastian Griffin, an eighth-grader at West who is hoping to be the Leo Club’s president this year, said he has enjoyed being in the club for the past year, “It’s a fun after-school activity that you can do with your friends and help the community at the same time,” the Idaho Press-Tribune reports.
Students On Track To Graduate Thanks To Success Program (WNCT 9, North Carolina)
The Student Success Academy is helping hundreds of at-risk students in Pitt County get on track to graduate with high expectations—and they’re only in middle school. Thanks to a $1.27 million grant from the 21st Century Community Learning Center program, graduation rates have increased from 50 percent to 82 percent because students are actually excited about school, thinking farther ahead about their exciting future careers. “It’s about beginning with the end in mind,” student Javante Mayo tells WNCT 9. “It helps me set goals and talk about how I can achieve my goals.” Pitt County Schools predict the graduation rate to keep increasing each year, now that this program is in place.
State Rep Promotes After-School Fitness (Cleveland Daily Banner, Tennessee)
Russell Cliche, a representative from The Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness, spoke to 30 people from afterschool and extended learning programs about how to help students become more physically active in afterschool programs. Cliche told the Cleveland Daily Banner that increasing blood and oxygen flow to the brain help the brain’s ability to concentrate, “When you’re moving and learning, you’re creating brain cells.” This is the first year that 21st Century Community Learning Centers and state-funded Lottery for Education Afterschool programs are required to incorporate physical activities into their programs.
By Luci Manning
Derrick Rose Gives $1 Million to Chicago Charity (Chicago Tribune, Illinois)
Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose is donating $1 million to After School Matters, a Chicago charity that arranges out-of-school apprenticeships for teens. “When Derrick looks at the kids we work really hard to serve, he sees himself or saw himself as one of those kids,” Vice Chairman of After School Matters Robbie Robinson explains to the Chicago Tribune. Rose grew up in the same area and told the Chicago Tribune, “To have a strong community of people who believe in your potential can make all the difference in the world. So many people have invested in me and I want to do the same for Chicago’s teens.”
Students Show Love for Cops on Police Appreciation Day (The Daily Home, Alabama)
Afterschool Students from First Baptist Church’s Child Development Center in Talladega adopted a new tradition: Police Officer Appreciation Day. The afterschool students created “survival kits” filled with candy and treats. Students explained the special significance of each candy on the outside of the bag and presented the kits to the police officers, The Daily Home reports.
Kids 4 Kompany to Hold Food Drive (Times-Herald, Georgia)
Kids 4 Kompany Learning Academy in Newnan is organizing a food drive this month. Children in the academy are working on all aspects of the food drive: collecting non-perishable food items, organizing the food, and helping deliver it to a local organization in need. Denita Barnett, creator of the food drive, tells the Times-Herald, “I want to instill in the children here to give to others.” Barnett says she plans on making the food drive an annual event from here on out.
NOLA Access Grant Puts Technology Help Within Reach of Central City Youth, Adults (The Times-Picayune, Louisiana)
Thanks to a $19,600 NOLA Access Media Grant, students in Central City will get a chance to learn and develop their computer skills in a high-tech environment. The afterschool program at the Israelite Baptist Church rapidly grew after the program was one of the few able to stay open after Hurricane Katrina. Afterschool Program Director Eureka Harris told The Times-Picayune that the program aims to not only help students with homework and improve digital literacy, but also “to expand their belief in what is possible in their lives.”
By Luci Manning
New Bowie Library Program Stops the “Shushing” (The Gazette, Maryland)
The new Teen Zone program at the Bowie Branch Library is allowing students to play board games, eat, listen to music, and even talk with friends above a whisper. The free program launched in August and gives teens a supervised place to meet up after school to do homework or relax every day between 2:30 and 6:00 p.m. The library’s new Youth Services Coordinator Joslyn Jones tells The Gazette that since Teen Zone launched, there has been a reduction in students loitering outside the library unsupervised. “This is a space for them to decompress… we want them to feel welcome,” she said.
UGA Team Begins After-school Enrichment Program at Two Clarke County Elementary Schools (UGA Today, Georgia)
A partnership between University of Georgia (UGA) faculty and the Clark County School District is giving elementary students a chance to participate in a new afterschool program aimed at improving health and stimulating learning in math and reading. The Physical Activity and Learning program is funded from a 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant. A decade of research showing that children’s increased physical activity can lead to higher academic gains went into creating the program’s curriculum. “It’s fun to watch children learn and grown, and it’s an important opportunity for our UGA students to learn to engage in and evaluate experimental practices as teachers,” Paula Schwanenflugel, a professor of educational psychology and part of the interdisciplinary community service project at UGA, told UGA Today. The program aims to be completely sustainable at the end of the five year grant.
UC Offering After-School STEAM Program (The Register-Herald, West Virginia)
Middle- and high-school students are being offered an afterschool program that incorporates science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and the arts (STEAM) working with student mentors from the University of Charleston-Beckley campus. The Science Behind the Art Experience (SBAE) will engage students in integrated science lab activities, art-making sessions, writing and critical reflection. “For the southern West Virginia youth, SBAE will fulfill a need for supplemental art education and will contribute to the increase in science literacy,” Dr. Aida E. Jimenez Esquilin, assistant professor of biology, told The Register-Herald. The program is funded with a Beckley Area Foundation grant and also supported by funds from the Benedum Foundation and the West Virginia Division of Culture and History.
Soccer Teams to ‘Snack it Up’ With Veggies, Fruits (Associated Press, New Hampshire)
New Hampshire soccer coaches are receiving coupon booklets for discounted fruits and vegetables thanks to the new “Snack it Up” program designed to stress more healthful eating options. Eric Redder, technical director of New Hampshire Soccer Association, tells the Associated Press, “We are thrilled to participate in Snack It Up so that our coaches can help youth athletes fuel up on healthier snacks more affordably.” Snack it Up was created as an initiative of ChildObesity180 at the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition to help coaches and afterschool program coordinators prepare better snacks through a supportive team of community partners.
By Luci Manning
Commentary: The Importance of Afterschool Programming (The Palm Beach Post, Florida)
Mayors Karl Dean and Betsy Price are asking their fellow mayors, city council members and other community leaders to take action to make afterschool programs a priority. In The Palm Beach Post, Dean and Price write, “Participating in high-quality afterschool programs has been shown to promote positive behaviors such as school attendance, and may help boost academic achievement, civic engagement and self-confidence, while reducing such dangers as obesity and juvenile crime…we need more cities to get on board. We urge city leaders to bring together key stakeholders to talk about—and take action on—local afterschool needs. Mayors and city council members can lead key players to work together effectively. And we need cities, businesses and private funders to invest more in afterschool. Such an effort will change young lives, help families and strengthen neighborhoods.” Mayors Dean and Price are on the Afterschool Alliance Board of Directors and received funding from The Wallace Foundation to expand afterschool opportunities in Nashville, Tenn., and Ft. Worth, Texas.
Theresa Horton Aces Courtrooms and Kitchens (Greenville Online, South Carolina)
An afterschool program from Resurrection Power Ministries in Travelers Rest is teaching children, ages 6 to 10, how to be self-sufficient in the kitchen. In the program’s first year, students learned how to boil an egg, chop vegetables, and ultimately made a Nicoise salad at the end of term for their parents. Instructor Theresa Horton tells Greenville Online that she’s teaching the young kids about nutrition and cooking, one skill at a time. She said the afterschool program shows students “order and caring and discipline and that work is part of life.”
Flamingos in Payette (Independent Enterprise, Oregon)
Payette Primary School’s teachers have people flocking to donate to their cause. Educators are helping raise money to support the Payette Primary School 21st Century Community Leaning Center kindergarten program and fix the school playground by temporarily migrating a flock of flamingos to yards across Ontario. These quirky birds will roost in anyone’s yard for a day or two if a friend pays the school to place the birds there, the Independent Enterprise reports.
TPS Seeking to Expand Community Hubs (The Blade, Ohio)
Despite funding cuts, Toledo Public Schools and United Way of Greater Toledo are trying to continue expanding the successful “community hubs” they created three years ago. The community hubs coordinate afterschool programs, medical and dental health programs, and social services to address the whole scope of problems that can inhibit a child’s ability to learn. Last week leaders at United Way held a strategic planning session to develop a sustainable way to spread community hubs throughout Toledo. George Chapman, former chief executive of Health Care REIT Inc., has been pitching donations for the concept, saying this money would make a real difference and told The Blade, “Equal opportunity is what this country is about.”
By Luci Manning
Starting in September, 78,000 middle schoolers will have access to afterschool activities in 562 schools across the city, from 3 to 6 p.m., five days a week, thanks to the mayor’s $145 million afterschool expansion. “This year, what this mayor is doing – nobody has done this before, anywhere, ever,” Manhattan Youth afterschool program director Theseus Roche told the Downtown Express. Manhattan Youth is receiving six new contracts for additional afterschool programs for middle school students thanks to the influx of funding. Manhattan Youth’s afterschool programs include literacy, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), physical activity and leadership development tracks for students.
The Detroit Bus Company, a business started by buying old school buses from Ferndale Public Schools, is getting ready to launch a new venture—transporting kids in Southwest Detroit to afterschool programs. Detroit Bus Company founder Andy Didorosi told the Metro Times, “We're acting as both a ride home and a new opportunity for kids to get to these after-school programs and then get home safely. Before, you basically had to choose between your after-school program or your ride home.” This is first year that the program is integrated with Detroit Public Schools.
Last week some 100 afterschool students “shopped” for school supplies at the Chesapeake Multicultural Resource Center’s Back to School Night. Students honed both financial literacy and reading skills by choosing and purchasing their own school supplies. In addition to shopping for school supplies, representatives from the local Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Talbot Community Center’s ice skating programs, the YMCA and Chesapeake College’s English as a Second Language classes gave parents additional information. “By the end of the evening, students had new friends in the wings, new hobbies to try, opportunities to test aptitude and skill, along with plenty of stuff to take to the first day of school,” the Easton Star Democrat reports.
By Luci Manning
“With school starting again, it’s a good time to remember the important role after-school programs play in helping students succeed,” Afterschool Ambassador and Vice President of Youth Development Services at the YMCA of Greater Kansas City Pam Watkins wrote in a letter to the editor in the Kansas City Star. She continued, “Quality after-school programs, such as the YMCA of Greater Kansas City Y Clubs, are a lifeline for working parents. They give our youth a chance to engage in hands-on, experimental learning in a safe and structured environment, exposing students to possible careers in the sciences or other fields, teaching them the value of community service and providing them with mentors, meals, physical activity and more… Many more students in the Kansas City area should have after-school programs available to them. We need lawmakers and others to fund after-school programs so all our children can have access to the support they need.”
Albany Crime Stoppers board members learned about human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children and some tips for preventing trafficking at abuse. David McCleary, a representative of Rotary International, gave an overview of how young at-risk girls can fall prey to predatory adults. “McCleary said communities can help guard against the threat of human trafficking by providing mentors for the children, summer lunch programs, after school programs and homeless shelters,” the Albany Herald reports.
United Martial Arts Center (UMAC) in Ardsley is celebrating its first anniversary next month. In addition to the full course of Taekwondo training for all ages, UMAC Ardsley also offers an afterschool program with transportation for local elementary students. "We have a Martial Arts Reading Program, where the children are reading at home, and relating the books to Taekwondo values," master instructor Vinny Bellantoni told the Rivertowns Daily Voice. He continued, "Every 10 books that they read, they earn a ‘next level’ patch, eventually becoming a ‘black belt’ in the Martial Arts Reading Program. The reason has even more purpose than just to get children excited to read, it actually helps them start to understand how these values relate to their every day lives."
By Luci Manning
The Sarah Burke House in the Bronx serves as a safe haven for kids and their moms to start a new life free from domestic violence. There, the children participate in theater, dance, yoga classes, and do arts and crafts after school and during the summer because as Ted McCourtney, director of the shelter, told the Daily News, “I think it is really important that we address the clinical aspects of what is happening in the children, but also that we just provide a fun, memorable, normal summer experience for these kids.” Mothers attend job training sessions while their children engage in safe surroundings, fostering the healing process.
High school students from Columbia Academy had a summer to remember as they travel
led to different locales as part of a summer learning programs geared toward s exploring the students’ passions, reports the Daily Herald. One student travel led to Los Angeles to study fashion, another went to North Carolina to study oceanography, while others traveled to Austria and Italy to learn more about history and European culture. The program was a smashing success as the globetrotting students returned inspired and more aware of what they want their future careers to look like.
Syracuse University opened its doors this summer to promote talented seventh and eighth grade girls
’ interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curricula. “The idea is that a lot of girls at that age turn away from science and math,” Project Engage Summer Program Coordinator Carol Stokes-Cawley told the Citizen, explaining how Project Engage is there to show the girls that STEM is for them. The students explored STEM topics to a greater depth of what they would in their schools’ science labs, pushing the limits of nanoparticles to determine their breaking points and creating prosthetics out of ordinary objects, afterwards calculating their properties, volume, flexibility , and strength.
Fifteen rising second graders from Jessie Mae Monroe Elementary sang proudly at their Seaside Teaching and Reaching Students (STARS) summer program graduation ceremony this week. The six week program, hosted by Seaside United Methodist Church, helped young students develop a love of reading. Program Director Mary Ellen Good boasted to the Brunswick Beacon, “The changes I saw in their reading ability, their desire to read. When they first came in reading was the last thing on their mind. Toward the end of the program they were asking to read. They found joy in going to the library each week. They were so proud of the fact that they had library cards.”