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DEC
4
2017

FUNDING
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Up to $500 for creative programs from the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation

By Charlotte Steinecke

The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation is offering funding of up to $500 to design and implement a creative program for your school or library! Public schools, public libraries, and public preschool programs are encouraged to apply.

Previous successful projects have included a public story walk, a multicultural portrait project, a school garden, a bookmaking workshop, and an intergenerational storytelling day. Find more inspiration at the great mini-grant program gallery!

To apply, head over to the How to Apply for a Mini-Grant page. Watch the instruction video, read through the do’s and don’ts, and complete your online application by March 31, 2018.

Learn more at the FAQ page.

Looking for more funding opportunities? Check out our revamped Afterschool Funding Database! We’ve added new features so you can see when an entry was last updated and when the deadline is closing, as well as a host of new grant opportunities.

DEC
1
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Philadelphia afterschool program uses martial arts to achieve social and emotional learning

By Guest Blogger

By Matt Freeman

“We’re in the business of developing healthy habits of mind and body,” says Dr. Salvatore Sandone, Sensei and CEO of the Zhang Sah Martial Arts. “So we surround our afterschool students with positive role models and work to develop a sense of resilience through social and emotional learning.”

The Philadelphia program puts heavy emphasis on physical exercise and fitness, carving out time for its K-8 students to play at a local park or playground, as well as learning and practicing the martial arts that are the core of the program’s curriculum. Zhang Sah operates at two locations, serving approximately 95 students from eight different schools at each. Children also get a healthy snack every afternoon and spend time doing homework.

The program takes its name from the Korean term for “brave scholar,” and its design embodies a philosophy that combines martial arts with youth development principles. Sandone says the program is structured to value equally the development of mind, body, and character. Instructors are trained to emphasize benevolence, courtesy, humility, integrity, perseverance, self-control, and stewardship. 

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learn more about: Health and Wellness
NOV
30
2017

LIGHTS ON
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Health & Wellness partners got communities active & moving during Lights On 2017

By Faith Savaiano

This year we were blown away with the number of Lights On Afterschool 2017 events that celebrated our official Health & Wellness theme through creative, educational activities that got kids active and learning about healthy habits. These events were great examples of everyday work that takes place in afterschool programs across the country, empowering students to be and feel healthier across many aspects of their lives.

There was no shortage of creative Health & Wellness-themed event ideas this year, including:

  • A climbing competition put on by After-School All Stars New York, which celebrated how health, nutrition, and determination can allow you to succeed in physical endeavors. Water, fruits, and healthy snacks were enjoyed by all at the event!
  • Healthy cooking demonstrations for the families at the 21st Century Community Learning Center program at Perrymont Elementary in Lynchburg, VA. The event was run in partnership with the Virginia Cooperative Extension, and afterwards there was a “farmers’ market” where families could take home the produce and ingredients they saw in in the demonstration.
  • A “’Fall’ into Health & Wellness” event put on by the Boys & Girls Club of Rutherford County in Tennessee, which featured an anti-bullying rally, hula hoop and jump rope competition, zumba, smoothies, and glow-in-the-dark sports games!

Many of these events and programs wouldn’t exist without the help of our fantastic Lights On Afterschool Health & Wellness partners. We’re deeply appreciative for the work done by Voices for Healthy Kids, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, Camp Fire USA, the Food Research and Action Center, the National Recreation and Park Association, and all of our other partners who work hard to ensure afterschool is a place where children are active and healthy!

NOV
29
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: November 29, 2017

By Luci Manning

Lynn Firefighter Do a Good Deed and Feed Local Kids Thanksgiving Meal (The Daily Item, Massachusetts)

300 Greg Neighborhood House afterschool students had the chance to celebrate Thanksgiving with Lynn firefighters last Wednesday. Lynn Firefighters Local 739 has been hosting the annual meal since 2010, cooking up a traditional Thanksgiving meal and covering all the associated costs. The event is meant to bring the community together for the holiday and give the firefighters a chance to give back. “I think it’s (the meal) amazing because a lot of families don’t celebrate Thanksgiving and Gregg House gives an opportunity for kids to eat,” Gregg House member and middle schooler Janeyssi Morillo told The Daily Item.

Western Youth Network Celebrates Mentor Pairs with Thanksgiving Meal (The Mountain Times, North Carolina)

The Western Youth Network mentoring program celebrated its annual Thanksgiving feast earlier this month. The afterschool program, one of the largest of its kind in the state, pairs adult mentors and youths between the ages of six and 17 for weekly meetings where they spend quality time together. Students in the mentoring program often see improvements in academics and behavior and increase their desire to graduate from high school. “I think this organization is doing exceptional work for youth in this county who need a helping hand and need somebody to talk to,” Thanksgiving feast sponsor Billie Howell told The Mountain Times.

High School Mentors Help Dora Erickson Kids Learn (Idaho Falls Post Register, Idaho)

Compass High School students are volunteering to help Dora Erickson Elementary students with their studies through an afterschool program known as the Compass/Erickson interns program. The high schoolers serve as peer role models to the elementary students while providing academic support. The teachers at Dora Erickson benefit from the assistance, while youths learn leadership skills and receive homework help. “I really like helping them,” sophomore Nikki Ritter-Truxal told the Idaho Falls Post Register about being a mentor. “It’s fun just getting to help and making new friends seeing their excitement when they come back.”

New Tech Partnership Brings Coding, Drone Programming Classes to Memphis Kids (The Commercial Appeal, Tennessee)

Chandler Park is offering Memphis students free tech classes through a new partnership between computer science and mentoring non-profit CodeCrew and mobile tech facilities company Building Box. The courses are giving students of all ages a chance to explore robotics, coding, drone programming, 3D printing and more during afterschool hours. “This is an outstanding opportunity to help these kids learn more about technology and show them how they can use their imaginations to accomplish anything,” CodeCrew Executive Director Meka Egwuekwe told The Commercial Appeal.

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learn more about: In The News
NOV
28
2017

IN THE FIELD
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Promising practices: EVOLUTIONS prepares students for college and careers

By Leah Silverberg

Afterschool programs across the country are working with students to prepare them for future jobs. Of programs focusing on high school students, we see students getting real-world job experiences in afterschool, including paid internships, professional development training, practice building skills they will need in the workforce, and exposure to colleges and possible future career pathways. One of the programs highlighted in our latest issue brief, Building Workforce Skills in Afterschool, Evoking Learning and Understanding Through Investigations in the Natural Sciences (EVOLUTIONS) does all of this and more with their students. While talking with the program’s manager of public and youth engagement, Andrea Motto, we were impressed not only with what EVOLUTIONS does with its students, but how. 

EVOLUTIONS is located in New Haven, Conn., and is a part of Yale University’s Peabody Museum of Natural History. The program was created in 2005 in response to community focus groups identifying that the museum could do a better job engaging with the local community. As part of these focus groups, the community expressed that they did not view the museum as a resource that was accessible to them. Listening to these community concerns, EVOLUTIONS was born. By starting with youth, the museum could invest in bridging the gap, bringing youth into the museum in an attempt to increase community access.

NOV
27
2017

RESEARCH
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Experts weigh in on the value of afterschool

By Nikki Yamashiro

Last month, we saw afterschool programs across the country open their doors to host Lights On Afterschool events, providing a firsthand look at the broad array of fun, enriching, and engaging activities students take part in at the program and the vital role programs play in their community. A newly-released research report from RAND is a fantastic complement to Lights On Afterschool, offering a research-based look at The Value of Out-of-School Time Programs.

The principal takeaway from the report, which made possible in part by The Wallace Foundation, is that there are measurable benefits to students and families when participating in afterschool and summer learning programs — but the quality and intentionality of the program, as well as a student’s regular participation in the program, influences those benefits. 

Also of note in the report is that it calls attention to the nuanced issue of what is and is not measured in afterschool and summer learning programs when evaluating a program’s success. The authors find that some of the key benefits of afterschool (such as providing students with new and differing learning experiences, helping close the opportunity gap, and supporting parents) are rarely, if ever, measured.

NOV
27
2017

POLICY
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Continuing resolution or spending omnibus?: Afterschool federal funding update

By Erik Peterson

Dec. 8, 2017 Update: The House and Senate both passed a stop gap spending measure last night that keeps the federal government open and funded until December 22. Congress plans to use the additional weeks to strike a spending deal that will pave the way for a third temporary continuing resolution that will last into 2018. A final omnibus spending bill is expected in early 2018 that will fund the government through September 30, 2018.

While the process continues, more than 500 local, state, and national organizations came together last month to send a letter to Appropriators calling for full funding for 21st CCLC that supports local afterschool programs.  

As November ends, Congress has just 12 days before the expiration of the continuing resolution that is currently funding the government on December 8. While there is little time left before this deadline, negotiations continue between House and Senate leadership from both parties with the goal of striking a deal that will raise defense and non-defense spending caps paving the way for a FY 2018 omnibus spending bill.    

Earlier this month Senate Appropriations Committee chair Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) issued an official statement regarding the committee’s responsibility to fund the government, urging leadership and the White House to make a spending deal as soon as possible. However there are a number of barriers preventing a deal, including final agreement on top level defense and non-defense spending levels, whether to include a bipartisan healthcare subsidy package, funding for the border wall, an agreement on DACA, and other issues.

If Congress does not reach a spending deal this week, they are likely to pass a short-term continuing resolution (CR), which would temporarily allow the government to remain open and operating at last year’s funding levels. Many members of Congress want to complete the FY 2018 spending package before the end of the calendar year, while other members – particularly members of the House Republican Study Committee – do not want to be pushed to vote on a final bill while also trying to pass a tax cut bill and another supplemental disaster relief bill by December 31, preferring that the next CR reach into the new year. Even without an extension, the present short-term CR could extend into late December or possibly into January or February, providing additional time to reach a deal. If Congress does not pass a temporary continuing resolution, the government will shut down.

If leadership can broker a spending deal, appropriators will then negotiate individual funding levels for each government program. 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) funding was set at $1.192 billion by the Senate earlier this fall; however the House has proposed $1.1 billion for Community Learning Centers. While final spending levels will most likely fall within that range, the lower level of $1.1 billion would mean almost 100,000 youth could lose access to programming.

Friends of afterschool can weigh in with Congress here about the importance of federal afterschool funding that provides support for local school and community based organizations that serve almost 1.8 million children.  

NOV
22
2017

NEWS ROUNDUP
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Weekly Media Roundup: November 22, 2017

By Luci Manning

Program Helps Students Deal with Trauma, Stress at Home (Las Vegas Review Journal, Nevada)

Nonprofit Healing Hearts’ afterschool program has made a big difference helping youths work through their stress, anger, anxiety and depression. The Teens in Action program addresses trauma and students’ emotional and mental issues by giving them an outlet for their frustration through fun activities, one-on-one counseling and group discussions. “A lot of them are broken, they don’t feel like they’re being listened to,” school counselor Annetta Bonner told the Las Vegas Review Journal. “They don’t feel like they’re loved; they don’t feel like anybody cares about them; they feel like they’re all alone. So we want to heal their hearts; we want to make them whole again.”

Big League Players Pitch in to Renovate Fields, Mentor Youth (Hawaii Tribune-Herald, Hawaii)

Three Major League Baseball players are getting their hands dirty to help children stay active by renovating the Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island’s youth baseball fields. Through the nonprofit More Than A Game, which encourages professional athletes to pursue community service, the players have cleared out the overgrowth on the fields and will soon get to work repairing fences and replacing worn-out turf. “A lot of kids don’t have access to these opportunities,” Boston Red Sox infielder Mike Miller told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald. “It’s good to let them know there’s people out there rooting for them. I’ve seen kids take off with just a little bit of love.”

Marble Falls ACE Program Helps Students Become Better English Speakers through Writing (River Cities Daily Tribune, Texas)

Spanish-speaking students in the Marble Falls ACE afterschool program are not only learning to speak English, but also will soon write and publish their own books in their second language. ACE uses the Write Brain program to help students get a start writing their books by providing them with pre-illustrated pages on which to base their story. First, they will write a Spanish book as a team, then next semester they’ll work on their own English stories, getting a hang of the nuances of the language and building their confidence. “Seeing their name on the book, being an author, that’s going to mean a lot to them,” site coordinator Amanda Fulton told the River Cities Daily Tribune.

Students Explore Arts, Careers and Recreation with In Real Life (Mountain Xpress, North Carolina)

After a 2007 listening tour about how to address Asheville’s juvenile crime epidemic, the nonprofit Asheville City Schools Foundation developed Lights On After School: In Real Life (IRL) to give youths a safe, enriching place to spend their time once classes let out, according to Mountain Xpress. Students in the program can engage in dozens of activities like Latin dance, pottery, physical fitness and engineering, allowing them to explore their existing passions and discover new ones. The program serves 250 students at Asheville Middle School and is a result of a partnership with area businesses, nonprofits and volunteers.