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JUL
30

POLICY
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Join us in celebrating #summermeals & #summerlearning today!

By Erik Peterson

In the summer of 1993, I worked as a staff member at the DC Schools Project’s Summer Enrichment Program hosted by Georgetown University in Washington, DC. That summer (and the next), a small staff of college students and I had the absolute honor of working closely with about 100 amazing DC middle school students, for whom English was not most of the students’ first language. I have a number of memories from that summer from helping students write, direct and act in their own original play to taking them to the beach in Delaware—for most, their first time to ever visit the ocean.

While there was a lot of fun and studying during those six-hour days, what sticks out the most was lunch time. It was over lunch that I got to know the teens and they got to know and respect each other. The opportunities for mentoring and relationship-building had a tremendous impact on the students and the staff, and it was the noontime meal that broke down the barriers between staff and participants and forged those connections.

Today, the Afterschool Alliance is joining forces with the YMCA, the National Recreation and Park AssociationBoys & Girls Clubs of America, the National AfterSchool Association, the Food Research and Action Center, the National Summer Learning Association and others to celebrate the power of linking summer nutrition programs with summer learning programs. While logistics and access issues associated with these programs are not always easy for providers, we know that providing nutritious meals through the USDA Summer Food Program is a critical part of successful summer learning programs. For some young people, meals are the hook that helps them get in the door and unlocks experiences like swim lessons, reading groups and robotic teams. For others, a nourishing meal silences a grumbling tummy and helps them focus on the learning at hand.

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learn more about: Congress Federal Policy Health and Wellness Legislation Nutrition Summer Learning
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JUL
29

STEM
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Tell us your thoughts on computer science in afterschool!

By Melissa Ballard

We need your help to better understand what the afterschool field thinks about computing and computer science education. Don’t know what those terms mean? That’s okay! We are looking for a range of practitioners to respond to this survey—from those with no familiarity, all the way to those who would consider themselves experts!

Because we value your time and expertise, we’re giving away some prizes! Complete the survey before August 7 to be in the running for a brand-new iPad Air. If completed before the final deadline of August 14, you will be entered to win a $100 Amazon gift card.

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learn more about: Science
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JUL
29

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: July 29, 2015

By Luci Manning

High Schoolers Use Their Noodles at Engineering Summer Program (Washington Post, District of Columbia)

Local high school students spent a recent Friday morning putting their engineering skills to work by building bridges with dry spaghetti – and almost immediately destroying them. The teens in the Johns Hopkins University Engineering Innovation summer program were testing how much weight their noodles could support before collapsing. The engineering summer program aims to spark student interest in science by illustrating principles through hands-on projects, program director Karen Borgsmiller told the Washington Post. It’s an opportunity to explore how what they learn in their high school physics class applies to the real world. In addition to the spaghetti bridges, students in the program also build model cars and create traps to capture table-tennis balls.

Bringing Art to ‘Every Child’ (Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Florida)

More than 150 children are spending their summer exploring beat box music, Latin dance, drama, drumming and hip-hop through an eight-week summer program put on by the Association of Florida Teaching Artists. Each day, homeless and underserved students get lessons in music and the arts from local professionals in an attempt to broaden their artistic horizons, build their confidence and keep them learning throughout the summer in a creative, interactive way. On a recent day, kids recorded their own songs using instruments they built from various household items. “This is my passion and my heart,” executive director Mary Kelly told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. “Because I feel every child deserves quality art experiences.”

CRUSADing for Kids: Activists Seek Support in Campaign Against Child Poverty (Marin Independent Journal, California)

The Hannah Project’s Freedom School is sparking the imagination of nearly 50 disadvantaged students this summer as they focus on how to alleviate global poverty. The summer enrichment program was created by the Children’s Defense Fund to encourage reading and build leadership skills among low-income youths. “The biggest thing for them is to see somebody who looks like them, who they can relate to, who have experienced the same things they’ve experienced,” Corey Meshack, a paid intern from Midland University in Nebraska, told the Marin Independent Journal. “Once they see that, it opens them up.” The focus on eradicating poverty isn’t just for the kids – the Children’s Defense Fund is also engaging parents in the crusade, encouraging them to reach out to policymakers in support of a number of initiatives that could reduce child poverty in Marin. 

Violence Prevention Plan Aims to Teach Young Boys (Knoxville News-Sentinel, Tennessee)

A new program at the YWCA Knoxville aims to teach middle-school boys how to identify violence and intervene.  GameChangers uses adult male mentors to teach middle school-age boys, primarily from urban areas, about different kinds of domestic violence, when and how to intervene and how to be advocates for women in their communities. YWCA violence prevention project coordinator Hannah Brinson told the Knoxville News-Sentinel that she hopes the program will “give them a positive male role model, someone who can offer them that different perspective of healthy masculinity and what it means to be a man.” The first group of boys is already meeting, and new groups will start next month as part of the YWCA’s afterschool program.

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learn more about: Science Summer Learning Arts Youth Development
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JUL
28

POLICY
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Kids Count 2015 Data Book reveals insights about children's education, health, and more

By Jillian Luchner

Annie E. Casey released its annual Kids Count 2015 Data Book last Tuesday. The report divides child well-being into four major areas: economic well-being, education, health, and family and community. For the most recent year of data (2013), the report finds data trends in education and health improving while economic well-being and family and community trends have declined. Overall trends (such as those reported below) suggest that efforts to support child safety and development may be yielding some rewarding results. However, these trends may hide what is occurring in one region or for one group. Details in the report specify how each state and major race/ethnicity sub-group has been affected in each of the four categories.

Among the positive trends:

  • High school graduation rates are improving. The percent of students not graduating on time was reduced from about one in every four students (25%) in 2007/08 to slightly under one in every five students (19%) in 2011/12. 
  • More parents now have diplomas. In 1990, 22% of children lived with a head of household without a high school diploma, by 2013 the number had fallen to 14%.
  • More children are covered by health insurance. In 2008, 10% of children were uninsured. By 2013, the number of uninsured dropped to 7% (representing an uninsured population of 5.7 million children). States vary greatly in coverage rates, with a low of 2% uninsured in Massachusetts and a high of 15% in Nevada.
  • The rate of teen births is down to under half the 1990 rate. The teen birth rate among females ages 15-19 in 1990 was 60 births per 1,000, the rate is currently down to 26 births per 1,000.
  • Mortality rates are down. Among children and teens ages 1 to 19, mortality rates have dropped from 46 in every 10,000 youth in 1990 to 24 in 10,000 in 2013.
  • Teen drug and alcohol use and abuse is down. In 2007/08, 8% of teens ages 12-17 were reported to be using or abusing drugs and alcohol in comparison to 6% in 2013.
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learn more about: Legislation Working Families Youth Development
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JUL
28

FUNDING
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Mott Foundation invests $4M in Flint afterschool programs

By Rachel Clark

Today, efforts to help Flint, Mich.-area youth succeed in—and beyond—the classroom received a significant boost from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, which has announced nearly $4 million in funding for afterschool and youth employment programs in the area.

"We want to see every young person in Flint and Genesee County succeed in school, work and life," said Ridgway White, president of the C.S. Mott Foundation. "We believe high-quality afterschool and job-training programs are essential to helping students achieve that success, which in turn helps to build the strength and stability of the community as a whole."

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learn more about: Academic Enrichment Youth Development Community Partners
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JUL
24

POLICY
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Senate Judiciary Committee passes Juvenile Justice reauthorization bill

By Erik Peterson

Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a markup of S. 1169, the bipartisan Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Reauthorization Act of 2015. The measure would authorize critical juvenile justice programs operated through the Department of Justice and originally enacted through the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Protection Act of 1974 (JJDPA) which last expired in 2007.

From an out-of-school-time program perspective, programs previously funded in JJDPA assist counties and communities in investing in collaborative, community-based delinquency prevention efforts to reach youth in need. Title V delinquency prevention funds are used by counties to support prevention programs targeting youth at risk of becoming delinquent or to intervene with first-time and non-serious offenders to keep them out of the juvenile justice system.

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learn more about: Congress Federal Funding Federal Policy Legislation
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JUL
24

LIGHTS ON
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Registration is now open for your Lights On Afterschool event!

By Lindsay Damiano

Lights On Afterschool is the only nationwide celebration of afterschool, and if you are a program provider, a parent, a community member or a program participant, you know that there is a lot to celebrate. Afterschool programs across the country inspire kids to learn everything from coding to poetry to healthy habits, help working parents, and keep kids safe and engaged after the school day ends. Last year, more than a million people celebrated the unique programs that they love at Lights On Afterschool events across the country. This year, help afterschool programs get the attention they deserve by registering your Lights On Afterschool celebration!

More than 9,000 events come together each October to make Lights On Afterschool a hallmark event of the afterschool movement. In the past, the United States Senate has passed a resolution stating support for increased program access and funding, and the Empire State Building has lit up in support of afterschool programs. Programs have connected with major donors at Lights On events, and each year generates more media coverage than the last, putting afterschool programs in the national spotlight.

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JUL
24

IN THE FIELD
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Join us for a summer meals blog-a-thon and tweetfest!

By Rachel Clark

Combining summer meals and summer learning should be a no-brainer—on July 30th, we’re going to spread the word by taking to the blogosphere and social media alongside the YMCA, the National Recreation and Park Association, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the National AfterSchool Association, FRAC, and the National Summer Learning Association. As Congress considers reauthorization of child nutrition legislation, it’s critical that we come together to raise awareness about the importance of keeping students’ minds and bellies full during the summer months—so we need your help!

Join us on Thursday, July 30 to share the amazing experiences your students are having in summer learning programs: eating nutritious meals, getting physically active, coding, reading, writing and more! Post a short blog and photos illustrating the opportunities you’re providing for young people this summer as they come together to learn and eat healthy meals, then let us know about your blogs at info@afterschoolalliance.org. We’ll also be following the hashtags #SummerMealsAct, #SummerLearning and #CNR2015 all day—share photos of your students eating and learning on social media, and we’ll spread the word about the great work your program is doing by collecting your images on a dedicated Pinterest board.

Not sure where to start? We’ve got a few sample posts to get you started—but be sure to customize them and share your own story!

share this link: http://bit.ly/1CZ8H4b
learn more about: Advocacy Nutrition Summer Learning
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