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Snacks by Nikki Yamashiro
APR
11
2016

RESEARCH
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Upcoming research webinars: Year-round literacy opportunities and rural afterschool

By Nikki Yamashiro

In addition to rain showers, April also brings two exciting new webinars to build on the most recent Afterschool Alliance research materials. We hope that you will tune in for one, or both!  

The first webinar, Creating Year-Round Opportunities for Literacy, will occur on Wednesday, April 13 at 2:00 p.m. EST, and feature two programs included in the newly released issue brief, Taking a Year-Round Approach to Literacy—one of which is the 2016 Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award Winner. If you are interested in learning more about the variety of ways programs are helping to build students’ reading, writing and critical thinking skills during the school year and summer months, this webinar is for you. Redhound Enrichment, an afterschool program located in Corbin, Kentucky, and Simpson Street Free Press, located in sites across Dane County, Wisconsin, will discuss their approach to integrate literacy into their programming, how they develop their students’ literacy skills, and the ways in which they create meaningful connections to literacy among their students.

The second webinar, Afterschool in Rural Communities: What You Need to Know, on Thursday, April 28 at 1:00 p.m. EST, follows the release of the Afterschool Alliance’s America After 3PM special report, The Growing Importance of Afterschool in Rural Communities. In addition to sharing key findings from the report on the state of afterschool in rural America, guest speakers on this webinar will share systems of support in place at the state level, promising practices and key strategies to address the challenges unique to afterschool programs in rural communities.

We also want to hear from you! If you have two minutes to spare, fill out this short, two question survey to let the speakers on this webinar know what topics would be most helpful. Help us tailor this webinar to fit your needs.

Additionally, check out our webinars page! Our webinar calendar for the month of April is jam-packed with great subject matter—covering our upcoming Afterschool for All Challenge and the Framework for K-12 Science Education, developed by the National Academies of Sciences.

MAR
23
2016

IN THE FIELD
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Drumroll please! And the winner of the Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award is...

By Nikki Yamashiro

Executive Director of Redhound Enrichment Karen West receives the Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award from Dollar General's Community Initiatives Administrator Lindsey Sublett

We are thrilled to announce the winner of the 2016 Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award and $10,000 prize:  Redhound Enrichment afterschool program! The Corbin, Kentucky based afterschool program was recognized today at the National AfterSchool Association’s annual convention at the conclusion of the general session.

Redhound Enrichment stood out from more than 150 nominations for this year’s award through its holistic approach to learning and ability to find fun and engaging avenues to integrate literacy into its programming. Executive director of the program Karen West spoke about strategies Redhound Enrichment implements in a workshop during the convention, Creating Year-Round Literacy Opportunities.

In conjunction with the announcement of the award winner, the latest Dollar General afterschool literacy issue brief, Taking a Year-Round Approach to Literacy, was also released. Check out the issue brief to find out more about the award winning program, as well as learn the variety of ways programs across the country are taking advantage of after school hours and summer months to build students’ reading, writing and critical thinking skills.

Stay tuned for details about an upcoming webinar this April featuring programs highlighted in the issue brief who will discuss how they are helping develop their students’ reading and writing skills, as well as create meaningful connections to literacy.

MAR
14
2016

RESEARCH
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Visualize rural afterschool in new ways

By Nikki Yamashiro

Last week, we released our new America After 3PM report The Growing Importance of Afterschool Programs in Rural Communities, which examines the current state of afterschool in rural areas. The report covers everything from rural afterschool program participation and demand to how rural parents feel about their child’s afterschool program. While the 49-page report is packed full of data on rural afterschool, we also want to provide a quick and easy way to access the report’s topline numbers.

Visit the America After 3PM interactive dashboard to explore updated findings from the special report on rural communities. Curious about rural parents’ satisfaction with their child’s afterschool program? Interested in what STEM learning opportunities look like in rural afterschool programs? You can find answers to those questions, and many more, in the charts available on the rural community-specific dashboard.

The dashboard is easy to navigate, with the rural-specific charts separated into six sections: 

  • Demand: This includes information on the percentage of children in afterschool and the percentage of children who are not enrolled in a program, but would be if one were available to them.
  • Benefits: This section focuses on the benefits and supports rural parents believe afterschool programs provide children.
  • Support: The charts in this section include rural parents’ support for public funding of afterschool programs, as well as the supports programs provide for working parents.
  • Summer: General information on summer learning in rural communities can be found in this section.
  • Health & Wellness: The charts in this section include information on physical activity opportunities and the snacks and/or meals offered in programs.
  • STEM: This section covers rural parents’ opinions on STEM learning in afterschool.

We hope that the dashboard provides a useful resource to help share the story of why afterschool programs in rural communities is so important!

MAR
11
2016

RESEARCH
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3 new infographics show why we should care about afterschool in rural communities

By Nikki Yamashiro

It’s true that a picture can be worth a thousand words. Just take a look at our new set of infographics! These infographics illustrate the afterschool experience for children living in rural communities, highlighting the opportunities afterschool programs offer, as well as the challenges afterschool program providers face to meet community demand for programs. The infographics translate key takeaways from the latest America After 3PM special report, The Growing Importance of Afterschool in Rural Communities, the first America After 3PM report focused solely on afterschool and rural communities.

The new infographics are a quick and easy way for you to share central findings from the report. They also help bring numbers from the report—what some think of as dry and unexciting—to life. For instance, this infographic depicts the high demand for afterschool programs in rural communities, where for every one child in an afterschool program, three more are waiting to get in. 

Rural parent satisfaction with their child’s afterschool program—from academic enrichment to physical activity and healthy snack offerings—is also a focus of the infographic series, with 85 percent of rural parents reporting satisfaction with their child’s afterschool program overall. Given the overwhelming majority of rural parents satisfied with afterschool, it is of little surprise that parents living in rural communities are in favor of public funding for afterschool and summer learning programs. The third infographic in this series concentrating on rural America illustrates the overwhelming support among rural parents regarding funding for afterschool and summer learning. 

We hope that these infographics can serve a useful tool to help raise awareness of the need for afterschool programs in rural communities and encourage you to post, tweet, Instagram or pin any or all of them!

MAR
10
2016

RESEARCH
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New America After 3PM special report explores afterschool in rural communities

By Nikki Yamashiro

How many children in rural communities participate in an afterschool program? Are there any rural children who aren’t in a program, but would like to be? What do parents in rural communities think about afterschool in their area? These are just a sampling of the many questions answered in our new America After 3PM special report, The Growing Importance of Afterschool in Rural Communities. 

If you've ever wondered about the state of afterschool in rural communities, this report allows you to learn about participation in afterschool programs and the unmet demand for programs, the challenges parents face when it comes to enrolling their child in an afterschool program, rural parents’ perceptions of afterschool programs, and the afterschool program activities and supports offered in rural communities.  

This special report, made possible by the generous support of John Deere, was released at Foundations’ Beyond School Hours XIX national conference in Dallas, Texas. It is the first time we have comprehensively examined rural findings from America After 3PM to help give a complete look at afterschool in rural communities. The report also serves to examine the ways programs are opening new opportunities in these often underserved and overlooked communities, and what more can be done to make certain that all children—regardless of geographic location—are given the array of supports they need to achieve their full potential.

Key findings from the report include:

  • The number of rural children who are taking part in afterschool programs continues to grow. In 2014, 13 percent of children in rural communities—approximately 1.2 million children—participated in an afterschool program, an increase from 11 percent in 2009.
  • However, a large number of rural children are still unable to participate in afterschool and summer learning programs. In 2014, 3.1 million rural children not currently in an afterschool program would be enrolled in a program if one were available to them.
  • In rural communities, the overall demand for afterschool programs among minority and low-income families is particularly strong. 51 percent of rural Hispanic children and 45 percent of rural African-American children who are not in a program, would be enrolled if a program were available to them, compared to 37 percent of rural White children. Among rural children in low-income families, 44 percent who are not in a program would be enrolled in one if a program were available to them, compared to 34 percent of rural children in higher-income families. 
FEB
2
2016

RESEARCH
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A second look at "Parenting in America"

By Nikki Yamashiro

Last month, we wrote a blog highlighting key findings from the Pew Research Center’s report, Parenting in America: Outlook, worries, aspirations are strongly linked to financial situation. Due to the enormous amount of questions asked in the Pew survey and the variety of demographic breakdowns covered in the 100-plus report, we weren’t able to dive deep into each and every one of the findings that stood out to us. Which is why we decided to go back, take a second look at the report, and this time take parents’ responses related to afterschool in Pew’s survey and compare them to parents’ responses from America After 3PM, our national household survey examining how children spend the hours after school.

A key takeaway from Pew’s report that I'd like to spend a little more time on are the socioeconomic and racial gaps that arise, especially when looking at parents’ ability to find afterschool opportunities for their children. The report found that for some parents—especially lower-income families and African-American parents—locating affordable, high-quality afterschool activities and programs in their community is challenging. More than half of families making less than $30,000 annually (52 percent) report that it is hard to find affordable, high-quality afterschool programs and activities. This is 23 percentage points higher than families with an annual income of over $75,000. African-American parents are even more likely to report difficulties. Fifty-six percent of African-American parents report that it is hard to find afterschool programs and activities. This is also higher than both White and Hispanic parents (35 percent and 38 percent, respectively). 

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learn more about: Working Families
JAN
11
2016

RESEARCH
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New resource: Interactive community mapping tool

By Nikki Yamashiro

A new online mapping tool illustrates the systems, services and connections that unite to form a workforce that supports young children and their families. The map draws from the report, “Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation,” released last year by the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council, which found that, although the youth development workforce holds shared objectives to improve children’s wellbeing, the broad diversity of involved stakeholders poses challenges to improving the workforce as a whole.

The map confirms the complexity of the youth development landscape, revealing the large number of stakeholders from the education, health care and social services sectors—including afterschool—involved in a child’s early development. Based on a key finding from the 2015 report that “the relevant professional roles, systems and services are diverse and often decentralized,” one goal of the map is to show the various ways stakeholders in child development and early learning can coordinate their efforts and forge collaborations with one another. 

The interactive map also allows you to use the existing structure as a template for new visualizations. The map also allows you to modify it and incorporate your local resources to reflect what is available in your community. If you are working on mapping out the services or policies that affect youth development in your community, I hope that you will find this tool useful!

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learn more about: Youth Development Community Partners
NOV
2
2015

IN THE FIELD
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Congratulations to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming - Glenrock Branch!

By Nikki Yamashiro

The winner of a $200 Amazon gift card from the Afterschool Alliance is the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming - Glenrock Branch! The program was randomly selected from the more than 650 survey responses we received from rural afterschool program providers across the country. Our profound thanks to the program providers who took time out of their busy schedules to help us better understand the challenges facing rural afterschool programs. As we begin reviewing the responses we received, we appreciate the thoughtfulness and detail provided by many program staff.

To help you get to know our winner, we asked branch director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming Jacque Stoldt to share this brief blog post:

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming - Glenrock Branch is off to a great start this school year! There are several programs running to keep our kids engaged after school and give them hands-on chances to learn exciting topics. Our “SMART Moves” program teaches our students how and when to say "no," decision-making skills, and how to develop assertiveness. The “Be Somebody” program teaches our students how to exhibit core values that help them become the best they can be. Our “Power Hour” program gives students a chance to get homework help and provides a quiet place to "chill" and engage in educational activities and games. We have a great learning center where kids can choose books to read if they don't have their own. Along with these core programs, we offer daily art and sports activities. We also provide programming in our tech lab each week, thanks in large part because we rent our operating space from our local recreation center. 

Our club is located in a very unique location. We are in a small town of only about 2,500 people and we generally see about 50-60 students every day. As the only afterschool program in our town, parents rely heavily on the resources we provide to keep their children safe and provide a quality, educational experience. Our club strives to give every child the opportunity to be the best they can be!  

The Amazon gift card that we won will help us fulfill our goal of purchasing sports equipment we desperately need, as well as materials for Power Hour and homework supplies. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to give our students even more!

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