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AUG
25
2017

LIGHTS ON
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What's happening for Lights On 2017?

By Charlotte Steinecke

Lights On Afterschool is less than eight weeks away and lots of programs have started planning their events! From marches and rallies to scavenger hunts and STEM lessons, the possibilities for a successful event are endless.

Looking for inspiration for your event? Check out the revamped Event Ideas & Activities page, where you can search by theme, activities, planning time, difficulty, partnerships, state, and audiences to find the pitch-perfect idea for your program.

For 2017, here’s what programs around the country are planning:

AUG
22
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Promising Practices: Columbus State Community College's ESL Afterschool Communities (ESLAsC)

By Leah Silverberg

This year we were happy to announce the Columbus State Community College’s ESL Afterschool Communities (ESLAsC) as the winner of the Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award. As the award winner, ESLAsC was featured in our new issue brief “Afterschool providing key literacy supports to English language learner students,” highlighted in a program profile, and received $10,000, which enabled them to provide summer programming to 120 youth this summer. In preparation for our issue brief, we caught up with Florence Plagenz, supervisor of ESLAsC, to hear a bit more about their programs.

Columbus, Ohio, is home to an estimated 45,000 Somalis and an estimated 44,000 Latinos. Responding to the high concentration of immigrant populations in the city, ESLAsC—which serves 100 percent English language learners, most of whom are from low-income families— provides necessary supports for these families. However, becoming such an integral resource took a lot of trust building and self-evaluation.

JUL
27
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Promising Practices: A deeper dive into Raider's ARK

By Leah Silverberg

Since 2015, the Afterschool Alliance has partnered with the Dollar General Literacy Foundation to distribute the Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award to recognize an outstanding afterschool program that has provided literacy supports to its students. While there can only be one official award recipient, there are always so many programs that we wish we could honor and reward as well—Raider’s ARK (Academics Reinforcing Knowledge), located in Arcadia, Wisconsin, is one of these programs.

Arcadia is a small rural community in western Wisconsin with a population of around 3,000. Between 2000 and 2014, Arcadia’s Hispanic population rose from 3 percent to 35 percent, and this past year the Hispanic population in the public elementary school rose to 73 percent. As a result, the need for supports for English language learners has substantially grown.

Looking to include the program in our Dollar General afterschool literacy issue brief, we reached out to Nancy Boehm, the program coordinator for Raiders ARK, and had an amazing conversation about what makes Raider’s ARK so special, and how they support their students.

When Boehm joined, Raider’s ARK had been using a relatively unstructured program that prioritized homework support. That wasn’t where the future of program was heading.

“I am someone who likes a lot of organization and structure,” Boehm explained, “but that organization and structure should be focused on fun activities, where students know what is expected of them and have a safe and engaging place to be. There should be opportunities for enrichment, and learning, and continued learning, but for it not to look or feel or smell or sound like school, even though we are housed in a school building.”

JUL
12
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: July 12, 2017

By Luci Manning

A Life-Changing Summer for Every Boston Kid (Boston Globe, Massachusetts)

The Boston Globe editorial board praised Boston’s investments in citywide summer learning programs last week: “The program is a valuable investment in Boston kids that deserves a broader base of support so that more students can participate…. The success has been remarkable: In 2015, the city had capacity for only 6,500 students; this summer, the city has a total of over 12,000 kids enrolled in more than 100 fully or partially subsidized summer programs…. The Boston summer learning model, which is paid for with a combination of public and private funds, is worthy of replication…. Rewarding summer experiences shouldn’t be reserved for wealthy families alone.”

Girls of Summer Kicks Off at CCGA (Brunswick News, Georgia)

A four-week summer enrichment program for rising middle school girls kicked off earlier this month at the College of Coastal Georgia. The Girls of Summer camp aims to help young women build their confidence, have good manners and maintain positive self-esteem, assistant director Marcyline Bailey told the Brunswick News. The program will also give students a head start on what they’ll be learning during the school year, offering supplemental instruction in math, language arts and reading.

A Summer Camp for Refugee Children Sprouts in St. Louis, Freeing Parents to Take English Classes (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Missouri)

When the International Institute of St. Louis, a refugee resettlement and assistance agency, noticed a consistent drop-off in summer enrollments for adult English classes, the agency found a creative solution: It organized a summer camp for children so that parents could be free to attend their English lessons. The free camp’s curriculum mirrors what parents are learning in their English classes so that families can review the material together at home. “This is a chance for family to be in a safe learning environment together where the parents don’t have to worry about their children and can focus on their English,” director of education Anita Barker told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

16 Schools Reopen for Summer as Recreation Centers (Detroit News, Michigan)

This week, 16 Detroit public schools opened as “Summer Fun Centers,” giving students free access to places where they can swim, play basketball, work on arts and crafts projects and more under adult supervision throughout the summer. The addition of the Summer Fun Centers supplements the 11 full-time recreation centers already in place throughout the city. “Too many times, kids, if you don’t give them something positive to do, they’ll find something negative to do,” Detroit Parks and Recreation Department interim director Keith Flournoy told the Detroit News. “This is an opportunity to provide kids with something positive.” 

JUN
23
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Guest blog: Afterschool programs change the lives of young refugees

By Guest Blogger

By Susanna Pradhan, an alumna of ourBRIDGE for KIDS in Charlotte, N.C. Susanna is a rising sophomore at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and attended the Afterschool for All Challenge in Washington, D.C. as part of the Youth Track. 

In 1998, I was born to a Bhutanese refugee family in Sanischare Camp in Eastern Nepal. As refugees, we were isolated from the rest of the world and deprived of our basic rights. We were abused at work, making less than a dollar a day.

Growing up in the slums of Nepal, my only hope for a better future was through education. My father was a teacher and my mother the pharmacist, albeit an informal one, in our camp. My parents were respected individuals in our camp and from a young age I wanted to become a respected individual as well. Seeing my mother cure the sick sparked my interest in the medical field. I dreamed of becoming a doctor and carrying on my mother’s healing work.

Everything changed when my family was given the chance to come to the United States. After a lengthy process, we arrived in Charlotte, N.C., in April of 2009. In August, I started my first school in America as a sixth grader at Eastway Middle School. It was only then, when I was faced with the reality of life in the United States, that I realized how horrible our Nepal conditions really were. America was living in a future so advanced it was unimaginable. There are so many details of everyday life that many take for granted; because of my experience in Nepal, I can appreciate the details that many overlook.

JUN
7
2017

CHALLENGE
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Congratulations to Columbus State Community College's ESL Afterschool Communities!

By Nikki Yamashiro

We are proud to announce that this year’s Dollar General Afterschool Literacy Award winner is Columbus State Community College’s ESL Afterschool Communities (ESLAsC)! Thanks to the generous support of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, the Ohio program is the recipient of the $10,000 award and is featured in a Dollar General afterschool literacy issue brief, Afterschool Providing Key Literacy Supports to English Language Learner Students.

MAY
31
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: May 31, 2017

By Luci Manning

Squash Gives Kids a Way to Win Big on Court, in Life (Plain Dealer, Ohio)

Students from low-income neighborhoods throughout Cleveland are being recruited to play a somewhat unusual sport – squash. Some 45 students participate in Urban Squash Cleveland. “This is really about youth development,” Urban Community School Associate Director Tom Gill told the Plain Dealer, “and we are committed to the whole child approach and to the physical, social, emotional, spiritual and academic development of a child, and you can’t do all of that in a classroom during the school day.” Urban Squash Cleveland is one of 23 sites youth development organizations that combine homework help, community service and entrepreneurship opportunities, and squash lessons.

Where Girls Become ‘Mighty’ (Metro Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Mighty Writers, a popular and successful afterschool writing program in Philadelphia, has added a new class to its roster focused on empowering young girls. The Girl Power writing series introduces girls ages seven to 17 to the writing of women like Audre Lorde, Maya Angelou, Margaret Atwood, and Malala Yousafzai, inspiring them to find their inner ‘girl power’ through poetry and creative writing exercises. “If we express ourselves in writing, we can get somewhere in life and be just as equal as men,” 14-year-old Nyelah Johnson told Metro

Latinitas Marks 15 Years of Media, Tech Training for Girls and Teenagers (Austin American-Statesman, Texas)

Next month, Latinitas will celebrate 15 successful years of providing digital media and technology training to thousands of girls and teens across Texas. The nonprofit offers workshops, camps, afterschool programs, an online magazine and a soon-to-come virtual reality design program to introduce young Latinas to media and tech, sectors in which they are not currently well-represented. “I believe discussing the representations of Latinas in media at such a young age required me to constantly self-reflect,” Latinitas alumna Krista Nesbitt told the Austin American-Statesman. “I felt compelled to think about what I wanted to represent and stand for. Above all, Latinitas inspired me to be fearless and passionate.”

Nonprofit Helps Instill Cooking Skills (Riverton Ranger, Wyoming)

The Arapaho Odyssey Cooking and Gardening afterschool program is teaching elementary schoolers how to cook healthy, satisfying meals. The program uses a mobile ‘kitchen for every classroom’ provided by the nonprofit Charlie Cart Project to give students a hands-on opportunity to learn about nutrition, collaboration, food education and more. Students cook up dishes like herb and cheese frittatas, strawberry shortcakes and banana oatmeal cookies, often using ingredients from the school’s garden. “Cooking is a life lesson,” special education paraprofessional Hope Peralta told the Riverton Ranger. “We’re trying to teach a healthier way rather than eating out of a box.” 

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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