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JUN
22
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Educators convene town hall against cuts to afterschool & summer

By Ursula Helminski

“Looking back, I don't know where I would have been without afterschool pushing me [and] showing me right from wrong." - Ashley, After-School All-Stars, AFT Tele-Town Hall

On June 12, in a show of united concern and support, the education, afterschool, community school, and health communities came together for a national tele-town hall to discuss the devastation that President Trump’s proposed cuts would wreak on Americans, and what we can do about it. The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) organized the call-in event, in partnership with the Afterschool Alliance, the Coalition for Community Schools, Learning Forward, and the National Association of School Nurses.

Teachers, nurses, afterschool youth, working parents, and community school leaders shared personal stories about the programs and supports that will be lost if the cuts are made.

JUN
21
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: June 21, 2017

By Luci Manning

Trump Education Cuts Could Hurt Local Students (Newbury Port News, New Hampshire)

Afterschool professionals in Seabrook, New Hampshire, are worried about how President Trump’s proposed budget cuts to the 21st Century Community Learning Center grant program will affect the kids who partake in their programs. Afterschool Ambassador Forrest Carter Jr. runs Seabrook Adventure Zone, which hosts programs for 174 kids after school and in the summer, giving kids a safe place after school and learning opportunities. “People need to be politically active and to be vocal,” he told Newbury Port News. “They need to reach out and contact their federal representatives and request they support this grant program.”

Stratford Grad Looks at After-School (Pauls Valley Democrat, Oklahoma)

Recent Stratford High School graduate Gia Fires had the opportunity to share her afterschool experience with her U.S. senators and representatives last week as part of the Afterschool for All Challenge. She was one of six afterschool students selected to attend the event and meet with her elected officials to urge them to support funding for afterschool programs. “This trip was a whole new experience for me,” she told the Pauls Valley Democrat. “I loved meeting new people from all over the country and getting a chance to speak with Representative Tom Cole and Senators James Lankford and James Inhofe about how the SAFE C3 program had such a positive impact on my life.”

Columbus State Program Helps Immigrant, Refugee Kids Acclimate After School and in Summer (Columbus Dispatch, Ohio)

Several ESL afterschool programs, run by the Columbus State Community College, are helping ease the transition for area refugee and immigrant students. “We’ve all heard the adage, ‘It takes a village to raise a child,’” Prairie Norton Principal Mike Gosztyla told the Columbus Dispatch. “Well, I say it takes the community.” Over the past 13 years, the ESL Afterschool Communities have helped 2,326 immigrant and refugee children build social and academic skills through a myriad of activities. On any given afternoon, students can be found working on writing persuasive letters, learning about wildlife conservation from a local zookeeper or running through soccer drills.

After-School Programs for Poor: Boost for Kids or a $1 Billion Boondoggle? (Sun-Sentinel, Florida)

About 8,000 children in South Florida, many from low-income families, participate in federally-funded afterschool programs, many of which are in danger under President Trump’s budget proposal. The programs offer learning opportunities in art, writing, computer coding, physical fitness and more. Many single parents like Briget Louis, who sends her son to the Boys and Girls Club in West Palm Beach, rely on afterschool programs to occupy their children before they get home from work and worry about the potential budget cuts. “How can I manage my financial life, my career, be able to provide for him?” she told the Sun-Sentinel. “If he’s not in a safe place, how can you do that as a single parent?”

JUN
20
2017

IN THE FIELD
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$750K awarded to middle school out-of-school time programs

By Ursula Helminski

On June 20, the New York Life Foundation and the Afterschool Alliance announced $750,000 in grant awards to 18 middle school out-of-school time (OST) programs serving disadvantaged youth in communities across the nation. The grants mark the first awards made under the Foundation’s new $1.95M “Aim High” initiative, aimed at supporting organizations doing outstanding work to help underserved middle school students reach ninth grade on time.

The selection of grantees was highly competitive, with more than 475 applications submitted. Recipients are all afterschool, summer and expanded learning programs, and include a broad range of approaches and communities served, from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Tacoma, Washington; San Antonio, Texas to San Francisco, California; and Burns, Oregon to Brooklyn, New York.

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learn more about: Awards Special Populations
JUN
19
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Guest blog: How one rural town is investing in Alaska's future workforce

By Guest Blogger

By Thomas Azzarella, director of the Alaska Afterschool Network. This blog was originally published on the Alaska Afterschool Blog on June 6.

Photo courtesy of Eric Filradi

The 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) in Nenana is addressing this demand by preparing youth living in rural Alaska for this crucial industry.Nearly two-thirds of Alaska’s cities, towns, and villages are accessible only by plane or boat, which makes having a strong aviation workforce critical to having a strong state economy. Qualified and experienced employees in the aviation industry are in high demand throughout the state, especially in rural communities.

Nenana is a small rural town of approximately 400 residents. Nenana City School District is comprised of one K-12 grade school that serves nearly 200 students. Approximately 100 of these students are enrolled in the school’s boarding facility, the Student Living Center, for grades 9-12. These students come from villages and towns all over the state, many of which attend school in Nenana because of the limited educational offerings in their home village. 

Nenana’s Community Learning Centers program expands the school’s educational offerings after school by providing tutoring, career-tech programs, and opportunities for building self-confidence and leadership skills. Among these offerings is the school’s Aviation Mechanics program, which is preparing high school students for high-paying jobs in Alaska’s aviation industry.

JUN
16
2017

IN THE FIELD
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What's afterschool got to do with the military?

By Charlotte Steinecke

U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Jonathan P. Idle.

Every day, our country is kept safe and secure by the brave members of our armed forces, who have dedicated their lives to serving their nation. But these individuals are more than soldiers – they’re parents, guardians, and members of their communities, and their lives out of uniform are filled with the familiar concerns of civilian life.

One of those concerns is the safety of their children in the hours after school, before parents can be home, and the opportunities afforded to kids to during this time.  The parents in our armed forces need to know that their children are cared for after the school bell rings, and both enlisted and civilian parents find that afterschool programs help them focus on the missions or  jobs before them. What kids are doing after school matters, too. Military leaders and civilians alike agree that afterschool provides important - opportunities for kids to be  engaged  in productive, hands-on educational activities.

JUN
15
2017

FUNDING
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Funding opportunity: Up to $1,000 for environmental service-learning

By Charlotte Steinecke

The future of the planet belongs to our kids, and afterschool programs offer one of the best opportunities for students and youth to engage in environmental stewardship projects that connect classroom experiences of environmental science with the real world. If your afterschool program has a focus on environmental service-learning and neighborhood improvement, you can help build those connections with the Project Learning Tree GreenWorks! grants.

Grant recipients will receive up to $1,000 to use for recycling programs, water and energy conservation initiatives, school gardens and outdoor classrooms, natural habitat restoration, and much more. Find inspiration for your project in the GreenWorks! guide, where you can read about successful action plans and find the best strategies to build a great proposal.

The deadline to apply is September 30 and funding will be distributed in December 2017.

JUN
14
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: June 14, 2017

By Luci Manning

Inside and Outside the Classroom, After-School Programs Work (PennLive, Pennsylvania)

Several Pennsylvania state representatives and Pennsylvania Statewide/Afterschool Youth Development Network Director Laura Saccente argue in favor of afterschool funding in a PennLive op-ed: “Pennsylvania’s 21st CCLC programs provide mentors to students that have no place to go after the school day…. In 21st CCLC programs, students have the opportunity to learn and explore some of the most innovative technology available today through STEM activities…. The worst thing we can do is take these programs away from the kids and families who depend on them. Supporting afterschool is a healthy, smart investment in our kids, our families and our communities. Let’s protect that investment in Pennsylvania.”

Grad Empowers Girls in Wake of Nasty Politics (Cincinnati Enquirer, Ohio)

Frustrated by what she saw as a negative climate for women in last year’s presidential election, recent high school graduate Nico Thom started She Became, an afterschool program meant to empower young girls to follow their dreams. Through the free, twice-monthly program, the third- through fifth-grade students have heard from female photographers, nurses, CEOs, layers and dentists about how to achieve their lofty goals. “There is a big lack in public schools of girl-centered confidence-boosting activity,” Thom told the Cincinnati Enquirer.

M*A*S*H* Actress Teaches Wendell Kids About Theater (Times-News, Idaho)

Students in Wendell School District’s Kids 4 Broadway afterschool program received special acting lessons from former M*A*S*H* actress Connor Snyder last week. The theater program combines lessons in the performing arts and STEM – students will perform a play on Friday about a family visited by a number of famous scientists from the past to explain their inventions and help them solve a technological problem. Many Wendell students come from low-income families and have not been exposed to theater in the past. “They’re learning there’s just this whole other world out there beyond Wendell, Idaho,” 21st Century program direct Jennifer Clark told the Times-News.

Monadnock Officials Find Way to Continue Before- and After-School Program (Keene Sentinel, New Hampshire)

Despite a loss of federal grants and other funding sources, Monadnock Regional School District officials worked out a way to keep the doors open to the popular ACES 93 and Back to Basics afterschool programs. The programs at several elementary schoosl will merge and fees will be raised for some students in order to make up for the funding losses, according to the Keene Sentinel. Approximately 435 students in kindergarten through eighth grade participate in the two programs.   

JUN
13
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Guest blog: Postcard project connects program providers with policymakers

By Guest Blogger

By Sara Beanblossom, Director of Communications and Special Events at the Indiana Afterschool Network

As part of our program provider advocacy initiative, the Indiana Afterschool Network is always on the lookout for new and innovative ways to share stories about the power of afterschool. Based on conversations we’ve had with program providers and policymakers, we embarked on a project that would most efficiently:

  1. Create an opportunity for providers, parents, and kids to share their voices on why afterschool is essential to them
  2. Create an opportunity for policymakers to easily hear the feedback from their constituents

Indiana State Senator Dennis Kruse suggested a postcard campaign with clear and compelling messages. We borrowed imagery from the Afterschool Alliance’s clear and energetic infographics and worked with Burness, a global communications firm, to repurpose and customize the infographics to tell the specific stories of Indiana. The postcards were designed with clearly-marked blank spaces for personalized feedback and the exact name and location of each program provider.