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JAN
17
2018

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: January 17, 2018

By Luci Manning

Students Learn How to Create Meals with Sparse Resources (Tahlequah Daily Press, Oklahoma)

A Hulbert High School senior is helping her peers learn to cook delicious, creative meals through Kayla’s Teen Cooking Club. Kayla Rooster runs the club through the Hulbert Community Library, working with fellow students to prepare everything from cupcakes to pizza grilled-cheese sandwiches, emphasizing how to prepare tasty food without fancy resources. “I feel like people my age need to be more educated on cooking,” Rooster told the Tahlequah Daily Press. “That’s why people should come here. It’s a great way to learn how to make really neat food, be around your friends and enjoy yourself.”

Middle-School Girls Learn to Lead Via Improv After-School Program (Youth Today)

An afterschool improv program in Queens is doing more than just teaching girls to be funny and creative – it’s teaching them how to be leaders. Funny Girls helps middle-schoolers improve their self-awareness, empathy, collaboration, resiliency and agency, all skills that the program’s parent organization, the Harnisch Foundation, sees as essential to effective leadership. The program gives girls the chance to develop these skills in a safe space where they can experiment and make mistakes. “Funny Girls is an opportunity and an outlet to express themselves in ways they didn’t think they could,” Global Kids director of middle school programs Lisalee Ibenez told Youth Today.

Gwinnett Resident’s Sewing Studio Teaches Confidence, Pride and Skills (Gwinnett Daily Post, Georgia)

Lifelong sewing aficionado Courtenay Christian recently opened her own studio, where she shares her love for the craft with teens and preteens through afterschool classes. Lessons at her studio, Threaded from Heaven, are geared for children ages eight and up, and teach students how to measure, follow patterns and think creatively. “Sewing gives kids so much more than just what they sewed,” Christian told the Gwinnett Daily Post. “It makes you work with your cognitive skills, hand-eye coordination, concentration and things of that nature. But you also see this sense of accomplishment in the kids when they’ve sewed something and the pressure is off from the school environment.”

PeacePlayers Strive for Equality On, Off Court (Baltimore Sun, Maryland)

A conflict resolution-focused basketball program started in South Africa is helping mend police-community relations in Baltimore. Through PeacePlayers International, city police officers serve as volunteer basketball coaches to elementary and middle school students, helping the youths improve their game while serving as mentors. The program teaches students to resolve conflicts peacefully and gives them lessons in leadership and self-awareness that they can apply off the court. “We teach them how to be leaders, how to have responsibility, how to resolve conflicts,” detective Joseph Bannerman told the Baltimore Sun. “To watch them grasp those concepts and use them… while on the basketball court, but also in the classrooms and in the community, that’s the ultimate goal. To be better citizens and better kids.”

JAN
8
2018

IN THE FIELD
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How to make afterschool health and wellness resolutions a reality

By Tiereny Lloyd

At the beginning of each year, most of us set personal goals that we would like to accomplish. Although the list of New Year’s resolutions vary from person to person, eating better and exercising more are two of the most popular resolutions we make. As we start the year, let’s not only resolve to make healthier choices for ourselves but to also commit to creating heathier learning environments for our children. 

Since out-of-school-time programs provide a host of supports for students, finding an effective, easy-to-implement healthy eating and physical activity strategy can be somewhat challenging. To that end, here are a few tips to help you improve the health and wellness of students in your programs.

Set clear, individualized, and achievable goals

Start with the end in mind by identifying clear, achievable goals that are specific to your program. When developing goals, keep in mind that they should be measurable, budget-aware, and suited to your staff capacity. A good resource to establish appropriate physical activity and nutrition program goals are the National AfterSchool Association’s Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Standards. Remember, you don’t have to achieve every standard at once or in one year. Take your time and go at a pace that makes sense for your program.

JAN
3
2018

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: January 3, 2018

By Luci Manning

Neighborhood Center Is a Hit with Residents (Chico Enterprise-Record, California)

Anaheim’s new community center at Ponderosa Park is attracting locals of all ages to its afterschool programs, nutrition classes and educational workshops. The newly refurbished center opened last month and features a dance studio, a gym with a full basketball court, a kitchen, classrooms and a special area for teens, according to the Chico Enterprise-Record. The center’s afterschool program will give students a chance to get homework help, participate in physical activities and explore new hobbies.

New Music Program Aims to Boost Kids’ Self-Esteem (Palm Beach Post, Florida)

Musicians from the Symphonia, a renowned South Florida chamber orchestra, are sharing their love of music with members of the Boys & Girls Club of Delray Beach through afterschool violin lessons. The Building a String Orchestra and Self-Esteem program aims to reach underprivileged children who may not have opportunities to play the violin to show them how versatile the instrument can be while building their self-confidence. “Music is such a significant way to help youth learn and excel in school, gain confidence, and become productive citizens in society,” club director Janice Clemmons told the Palm Beach Post. “It teaches discipline without the kids even realizing it.”

New After-School Program Promotes Healthy Eating Habits (Columbus Telegram, Nebraska)

Megan Owens, a Columbus Community Hospital dietetic intern, will be teaching elementary children about healthy foods, exercise and body positivity in a new afterschool program beginning this month. In “Food, Fitness & Fun,” students will participate in interactive nutrition and fitness activities, learn to make healthy snacks and build a positive relationship with food and exercise. “We’ll talk about what goes into making healthy choices, appropriate portions and avoiding mindless eating while sitting watching TV,” Owens told the Columbus Telegram. “We also want kids to know that getting their bodies moving can be fun.”

New LGBTQ+ Program Planned in Athens (Athens Messenger, Ohio)

Athens’ first-ever afterschool program geared specifically towards LGBTQ+ students will begin next week, providing marginalized adolescents a safe place to spend time after the school day ends and a chance to build a community among their peers. The program, PRISM, will be free and open to students of all genders, and will be run entirely by adult volunteers from the community, according to the Athens Messenger. PRISM will offer students activities in art, music and other areas of interest, and allow them to make connections with other youths and adults who have experienced the same struggles that they have. 

DEC
14
2017

IN THE FIELD
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How afterschool can support school meals: 3 activities

By Guest Blogger

By Daniel W. Hatcher, MPH, director of Community Partnerships at Alliance for a Healthier Generation.This article was original published on December 5, 2017 on the Healthy Out-of-School Time New & Notable blog.

Partnerships between school and afterschool educators are essential to ensure our community health efforts are sustained.

On November 29, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published a new School Meal Flexibility Rule that will weaken nutrition standards aimed at reducing sodium and increasing whole grains for meals provided under the USDA’s National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs.

Afterschool programs that voluntarily adopted the National AfterSchool Association Standards for Healthy Eating and Physical Activity have the potential to be impacted by any weakening of school nutrition standards. In particular, if their school oversees the afterschool snack and meal program.

Below are three ways afterschool leaders can share their voice for healthy school meals while championing the power of afterschool.

Write a letter to the editor of your local paper

Shout your hard work creating healthy afterschool from the rooftop! Share the story of how your program is bringing the National AfterSchool Association Standards for Healthy Eating and Physical Activity to life.

Writing and submitting a letter is simpler than you think! Check out Tips on Writing Letters to the Editor.

Submit a comment on the flexibility rule

As someone who works directly with children and families, your voice is important. Share your feedback and questions with the USDA by January 29, 2018 using the online comment form. Five minutes is all it takes to share your essential perspective!

Encourage families to go on a #CafeteriaDate

In addition to these three tips, encourage families to schedule a time to go on a “cafeteria date” with their child. Want to learn more about this campaign and why building a relationship with your school lunchroom is so important? Visit http://www.thelunchtray.com/cafeteriadate/ and share your experience by using the hashtag #cafeteriadate.

DEC
5
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Los Angeles afterschool program builds 'a world fit for kids!'

By Matt Freeman

25 years ago, riots exploded in South Central Los Angeles in the wake of the acquittal of four police officers charged with beating a prostrate taxi driver named Rodney King. The event called attention to issues of race and economic inequities, one element of which was cutbacks in the L.A. school system that had resulted in the elimination of physical education and other programs.

From the ashes of the riot grew an innovative afterschool program called A World Fit for Kids! (WFIT), whose leaders were determined to give inner-city youth opportunities for physical fitness, wellness and self-esteem programming that had been lost to budget cuts. In the 25 years since, the program has touched the lives of more than 460,000 children and family members in the city, encouraging them to make healthy decisions over the course of their lives. Along the way, it has pioneered a research-based training model called Mentors in MotionSM that prepares high school “Coach-Mentors” to work with elementary and middle school children, helping both age groups achieve health and fitness goals and develop strategies for success in all aspects of their lives.

“We believe physical activity is a vital tool for personal growth,” says Normandie Nigh, the program’s CEO. “Traditional programs usually emphasize competitive sports and stand-alone recreational activities. But we take a more comprehensive approach, training our staff and Coach-Mentors to address the whole child by linking healthy bodies with healthy minds. We train them to help students increase their self-awareness, improve their capacity to self-manage, and take greater responsibility for the decisions they make.”

NOV
17
2017

IN THE FIELD
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HEPA Success Story: DC SCORES

By Faith Savaiano

In 1994, a former school teacher in Washington, D.C., began an afterschool soccer program for 15 girls who had little to do after their school days. The teacher, Julie Kennedy, soon realized that the team relationships the girls built on the field translated well to other activities they could pursue during their afterschool time, such as slam poetry and community service. With that, the DC SCORES program was born, and now has been replicated in 12 cities across the United States and Canada.

DC SCORES afterschool programming implements a unique combination of competitive soccer, slam poetry, arts enrichment, and service learning on an alternating year-round schedule. According to the Chief Program Officer, Sean Hinkle, this holistic model combined with a focus on delivering a high-quality experience allows every student to define and achieve their own version of success through the program.

“The different ways that kids can connect with one another, trusted adult mentors, and with the bigger community really sets us apart [with] many different ways for kids to find success,” said Hinkle.

NOV
16
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Support healthy OST programs with this action center's state policy toolkits & funding

By Tiereny Lloyd

Voices for Healthy Kids®, an initiative of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and American Heart Association, recently released an Out of School Time (OST) Campaign Toolkit. The toolkit is designed to empower OST advocates to take action in their communities and improve health of children in OST programs. Some features of the toolkit are new graphics, social media samples, fact sheets, messaging guides, and other resources. The toolkit can be downloaded here at no cost!

While you are downloading all the wonderful resources from the new toolkit, be sure to check out the open call for proposals to advance healthy eating and physical activity in your state.  This round of funding is specifically limited to proposals in the areas of the school health (physical activity/physical education, junk food marketing, wellness, ESSA, school food, and water), early care and education, and out-of-school-time policy levers. Applications must support the Voices for Healthy Kids OST Policy Lever: Pursue policy changes that require out-of-school time programs to integrate national healthy eating and physical activity (HEPA) standards into recognition programs, accreditation programs, certifications, and rating systems.

The deadline for submission is fast approaching; all applications must be submitted by December 8, 2017 at 5 p.m. PST. Visit the grant portal to learn more!

Last but not least, be sure to join the movement! 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. The action center offers two pathways to membership; you can sign up as an individual leader or you can create an organization profile

If you have questions about any of the above resources, please be sure to give me a ping at tlloyd@afterschoolalliance.org, I look forward to hearing from you!

NOV
8
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: November 8, 2017

By Luci Manning

Former Student Shares How Bellevue’s Jubilee Reach Provided Help (Bellevue Reporter, Washington)

Current University of Washington student and REACH afterschool program alumna Jeyma Garcia will share how instrumental the REACH afterschool program was to her at the annual Festival of Trees fundraiser on November 11. She credits the REACH afterschool staff and coaches with helping her overcome depression. Now she strives to provide the same level of passion and empathy to her students. “Garcia said she doesn’t know where she would be now if she hadn’t had help from her site coach when she was 13 years old,” reports the Bellevue Reporter.

James Island Elementary's After-School Fishing Program Catches on with Young Anglers (Post & Courier, South Carolina)

Students in the James Island Elementary School Fishing Club are spending their hours after school learning about birds and wildlife, how to tie knots and the difference between different fishing rigs. “The time spent with the kids outdoors has been amazing…. The looks on their faces when they catch that fish by themselves is amazing,” club founder Patrick Harrington told the Post & Courier. The program has helped the children become expert fishermen, earning them plaques and other awards at the annual Trident Fishing Tournament.

Kids Learn the Link Between Food, Health (Record Searchlight, California)

Patient educator Betsy Amstutz and nurse Jayne Cummins are offering a new afterschool cooking class at the Shasta Community Health Center to educate youths about how to cook more nutritious and balanced meals. The class, inspired by an adult nutrition class offered to the center’s patients, also teaches students about knife safety, hand-washing, and how to avoid cross-contamination. “I took this class because my mom made me and, two, I really enjoy cooking. It's my passion. It's a hobby actually,” 12-year-old member Ryder Rogers told the Record Searchlight.

Farm Program Lets Students Learn Hands-On from Animals (Las Vegas Sun, Nevada)

A new club at Mabel Hoggard Elementary School is introducing students to animal care, genealogy and gardening. The program is taught both during the school day and in the out-of-school time Zookeepers club and Green Thumb Kids club. During lunch hour and before school, 25 to 50 students partake in the unique experience of learning about and caring for a variety of over 130 animals. The programs are meant to inspire students with an interest in zoology, veterinary, geology and other science fields. “We wanted to give our kids a more involved experience,” life sciences teacher Kimberly Law told the Las Vegas Sun. “I think this is a unique way for them to learn, and something no other elementary kids get to do.” 

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